Today, Governor Tom Wolf visited Highlands Hospital in Connellsville. At Highlands Hospital, which has been selected as a center of excellence, Governor Wolf hosted a roundtable to discuss his administration’s efforts to battle the opioid epidemic and how the state can continue this fight. The 2016-2017 budget included $20.4 million for Centers of Excellence which serve as central, efficient hubs around which treatment revolves. These centers will have navigators to assist people with opioid-related substance use disorders through the medical system, and ensure they receive behavioral and physical health care, as well as any evidence-based medication-assisted treatment needed.
“Ensuring that Pennsylvanians have access to the mental health and substance use care that they need is a priority for my administration. Every day, we lose ten Pennsylvanians to the disease of opioid addiction and 3,500 Pennsylvanians lost their lives in 2015 alone,” said Governor Wolf. “As we all know, the opioid epidemic does not discriminate – it affects Pennsylvanians from all walks of life. While we have achieved much, we can and should do more to address this matter that is plaguing all of our communities.”
“We are honored to host this tour of Highlands Hospital for Governor Wolf and his staff,” said Highlands Hospital CEO Michelle Cunningham. “Governor Wolf was instrumental in awarding Highlands Hospital the designation as an Opioid Use Disorder-Center of Excellence. Through this vital program, lives will be saved and families will receive help to overcome the tremendous hardships and suffering addiction causes. We believe as does Governor Wolf, that it takes an entire community to overcome the epidemic of addiction.”
“We are also grateful to Governor Wolf for our recent award of $1 million dollars in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) funding. This funding will enable the hospital to renovate a former elementary school into a Center of Health Impact which will house a Women’s Center among other services. The Women’s Center will provide whole person care and will also focus on helping women achieve their highest level of health: emotional, nutritional, environmental and physical stability. Because of Governor Wolf’s assistance, many people’s lives in Fayette County will be touched in a positive and impactful manner.”
In late September, Governor Wolf addressed a joint session of the General Assembly to outline a set of shared, specific legislative goals that would help tackle the opioid and heroin crisis. Together with Republicans and Democrats in both the House and Senate, Governor Wolf made a commitment to prioritize helping the victims of substance use disorder and the communities that have been devastated by this terrible disease.
During the fall session, we made real progress in helping the victims of substance use disorder and the communities that have been devastated by this terrible disease. The governor and legislators made significant achievements toward fighting this epidemic by passing five major bills that will strengthen the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, restrict the number of pills that can be prescribed to minors or in emergency rooms, establish education curriculum on safe prescribing, and create more locations for the drop-off of drugs among other important initiatives.
If you or someone you know is suffering from substance use disorder, help is available. Please visit pa.gov/opioids or call 1-800-662-HELP.