Gov. Wolf on Wednesday renewed the state’s opioid disaster declaration for another three months, saying the state needs more time to implement solutions to fight the epidemic.
Wolf first declared a disaster over the epidemic in January. That declaration was set to expire next week. He said the renewal will allow state initiatives undertaken during the last three months to continue uninterrupted, and gives the state time to execute new plans to stem overdose deaths and get more people into treatment.
He said the state has made progress since the beginning of the year. At overdose scenes, paramedics in Pennsylvania now are permitted to hand out naloxone, a reversal drug, to friends and family members of a person they’ve just rescued. The state has expanded its prescription drug monitoring program and waived birth-certificate fees for people with opioid use disorder, as it’s often difficult to get into some kinds of treatment without an ID. The state is also encouraging hospitals to track non-fatal overdoses and instances of neonatal abstinence syndrome.
“I am pleased with our progress under the disaster declaration, but there is much more work to be done,” Wolf said in a statement.
Wolf has also called for legislation to allow the state secretary of health to declare a public health emergency.