Governor Wolf signs Opioid Disaster Declaration, awaits approval from legislators

Opioid Crisis

(U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah via AP)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Governor Wolf has signed the 15th renewal of the Opioid Disaster Declaration to help fight the opioid epidemic. This declaration will last 21 days or until the General Assembly comes back to Harrisburg to extend it by August 26.

Governor Wolf sent a letter on July 30 to the General Assembly to come back to the Capitol and expressed the urgency and necessity of extending the declaration. The letter described the progress made since putting it into action in 2018 and how the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rise in opioid deaths.

“As we see a spike in overdoses throughout the commonwealth, there has never been a more important time to concentrate our efforts in helping individuals with substance use disorder, especially opioid use disorder,” Gov. Wolf said. “This ongoing public health crisis has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. It takes coordination from staff and resources to support and sustain our response across Pennsylvania.”

Numbers show there have been over 5,000 overdose deaths during 2020 and into July 2021. In 2019, there were about 4,400 deaths. The uptick is the largest increase since the crisis began in 2017.

“Each of these numbers represents our family members, loved ones, and neighbors,” Gov. Wolf said. “They deserve every effort to ensure access to quality treatment and recovery supports to give them the best opportunity to have sustained recovery from substance use disorder.”

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