PHILADELPHIA– Governor Tom Wolf today announced that the state has received $5.1 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of a cooperative agreement for emergency response to continue to fight the opioid crisis.
“This funding will assist the Opioid Operational Command Center in ensuring the entire commonwealth is working to address this crisis,” Gov. Wolf said. “Much of this funding will be used to strengthen the state’s data collection and analysis, which will help us as we engage with local municipalities to address the opioid crisis.
The funding will assist in numerous areas, including:
- Pharmacy outreach and education;
- Public information campaigns conducted by local health departments;
- Hiring epidemiologists and data staff to continue to assist in data collection;
- Enhancing data collection with additional data sources;
- Working to collect fatal overdose data with coroners;
- Increasing syndromic surveillance to monitor and track opioid overdoses;
- Training for first responders and physicians; and
- Outreach regarding Hepatitis and HIV.
Since Gov. Wolf signed the first 90-day Heroin and Opioid Disaster Declaration in January, numerous initiatives have been put in place:
- Expanded access to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) to other commonwealth departments for clinical decision-making purposes. Numerous local and state departments have already gained access to the database, and 17 states are now connected to Pennsylvania’s PDMP.
- Prescribing guidelines for workers’ compensation, bringing the total number of guidelines to eleven.
- Waived fees for birth certificates for individuals with opioid use disorders, allowing them faster access to treatment and benefits. To date, 348 birth certificates have been expedited through this process to help get people into treatment faster.
- Added non-fatal overdoses and neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) as reportable conditions. More than 80 percent of hospitals and birthing centers in the state are now reporting more with 1,083 NAS cases reported to date. Note that some may be not be reporting because they have no cases, which is the preferred circumstance.
- Waived annual licensing requirements for high-performing drug and alcohol treatment facilities and have already seen 229 eligible facilities apply for and receive two-year licenses, ensuring continued, high-quality treatment for OUD sufferers.
- The Opioid Data Dashboard was created to help the public gain access to information about what resources are available locally, and where those resources need to be deployed. The dashboard can be viewed here.
- Implemented EpiCenter alerts to communicate unusually high numbers of emergency room visits for overdoses to state and local partners, including first responders, hospitals, county drug and alcohol staff, etc.
“This funding will continue to assist us as we work to keep our focus on prevention, rescue and treatment. We must ensure that those suffering from substance use disorder get into treatment and on the path to recovery,” Dr. Levine said.
More information on the Wolf Administration’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic and how people suffering from this disease can get help is found here.
SOURCE: Governor’s Office