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News Release: PA Hospitals Applaud Governor Wolf’s Disaster Declaration for the Heroin and Opioid Epidemic

January 10, 2018

The Pennsylvania hospital community today applauded Governor Wolf’s announcement declaring the heroin and opioid epidemic as a statewide disaster emergency.

“This unprecedented announcement demonstrates that Governor Wolf and his administration recognize the gravity of this situation and the major efforts needed to turn the corner,” said Andy Carter, president and CEO of The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP). “We agree that substance use disorder is not a moral failing, but rather a chronic medical condition that requires both physical and behavioral health treatments. We are grateful that the administration is taking steps to speed up access to these types of care.” 

Pennsylvania's hospital emergency departments are often the front line for treatment for many suffering from substance use disorder, and hospital staff see every day the toll it takes on patients and their families. While there is no “silver bullet” to solve this crisis, hospitals are collaborating with state government, community organizations, and each other, to provide patients with the treatment they need.

Pennsylvania’s hospitals have been, among other things:

  • Coordinating with county organizations to effectively transition patients from the emergency department to a treatment facility
  • Employing prescription guidelines
  • Implementing medically assisted treatment protocols

“We know that ending the opioid epidemic will take time, resources, and funding, and the hospital community is grateful for Governor Wolf’s leadership on this issue,” Carter continued. “We are committed to collaborating with state government and community organizations to help individuals recover with dignity, and work to end this crisis.”

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