Opioid emergency prompts 2nd amendment dispute between Wagner, Wolf

Gov. Wolf to make announcement of new executive action in fight against heroin and opioid epidemic

Gov. Wolf announces state of emergency for opioid epidemic

It comes after Pennsylvania registered 4,642 overdose deaths in 2016, the most recent full year available.

"I am pretty encouraged by this", she said.

The ability to waive regulations, she said, will allow for the removal of some barriers to drug abuse treatment.

Among the declaration's specifics are 13 key initiatives that are the culmination of a collaboration between all state agencies, with focus on the departments of Health, Drug and Alcohol Programs, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, and the Pennsylvania State Police.

"Hopefully with this emergency declaration, we're able to smooth things out so we can get people into treatment when they're ready, which is the important thing", said Dr. Brian Work, an internist at Penn Medicine who volunteers at the addiction clinic Prevention Point Philadelphia.

The plan will create a command center at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to track progress and enhance coordination of health and public safety agencies. The state's rate of drug overdoses has been more than twice the national average, and preliminary data indicates the number of overdose deaths rose again previous year.

"Those that we have lost are not just numbers, they're mothers, they're fathers, sons, daughters, family members, neighbors". Still, Wolf and others acknowledged the disaster declaration is no "silver bullet" that will solve the crisis.

Some of the provisions, such as making overdoses in which the victim survives a reportable condition, will give the state more information to use to understand and respond to the crisis, officials said.

Today, Governor Wolf will make a major announcement of new executive action that will bolster Pennsylvania's effort in the fight against the heroin and opioid epidemic.

"I applaud the governor's proclamation", he said.

"Now, the federal government must do its part so that states don't have to deal with this alone". He called the declaration sloppy, pointing to a state statute that prohibits carrying a firearm in public during an emergency without a concealed carry permit or hunting license.

"I have introduced legislation that would invest $45 billion in programs that combat opioid addiction and provide treatment for those who need it".

Republican Scott Wagner said his problem isn't about opioids, though.

"We know that this crisis has taken far too many lives, it has broken far too many families, it has decimated far too many communities", Wolf said.

"Our arrests of medical personnel and others for illegally diverting prescription drugs are up 72 percent", he said.

The attorney general said he's made fighting the opioid crisis his top priority and that's resulted in arrests of, on average, more than four drug dealers a day.

"In the months to come as they mature their system of coordination, they're going to see more effective programs in the streets of Pennsylvania that will translate into lives saved", he said. For as little as $3, you can help us.

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