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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf issued a disaster declaration for the state as a response to the opioid epidemic.
This is the first time this type of declaration has been issued for a public health emergency in Pennsylvania. The state will utilize a command center at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to “track progress and enhance coordination of health and public safety agencies,” according to a Jan. 10 statement from the Democratic governor’s office.
The declaration has 13 key initiatives that focus on enhancing coordination and data collection to bolster state and local response, improving tools for families and first responders and speeding up and expanding access to treatment, according to the statement.
“I routinely challenge all commonwealth agencies to think innovatively about how they continue to address the opioid epidemic and seek solutions that last long beyond our tenure in this building,” Gov. Wolf said in the statement. “One such solution is to use the executive authority granted to me as the governor of this commonwealth to waive statutory regulations that create barriers to treatment and prevention, prevent first responders and others from saving lives, and reduce efficiency of our response.”
(Reuters) — Life expectancy in the United States dipped in 2016 as the number of deaths due to opioid drug overdoses surged and total drug overdose deaths rose 21% to 63,600, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.