ORLANDO, Fla., March 17, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine today highlighted the opioid crisis during her keynote address for the American Academy of Pain Medicine's 33rd annual convention entitled "Pain as a Public Health Issue."
"The opioid epidemic affects every state in the nation, and it is only by sharing experiences and working together that we will end this crisis," said Dr. Levine. "Ending the disease of addiction in Pennsylvania and our country is not possible without thoughtful painkiller prescribing. I am grateful to the American Academy of Pain Medicine for the opportunity to speak on this very important topic."
The administration of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf holds the fight against heroin and prescription opioids as a top priority. In order to continue the battle against the opioid epidemic in the commonwealth, Governor Wolf included the following proposals in his 2017-18 budget:
- Expanding access to life-saving naloxone by providing $10 million through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to first responders and law enforcement across the state;
- Maximizing federal Cures Act funding, which includes $26.5 million in each of the next two years for Pennsylvania, to expand access to treatment services, particularly for individuals who are uninsured or underinsured; and
- Providing $3.4 million to expand specialty drug courts to expand treatment strategies that divert offenders into more meaningful treatment and recovery.
Some of the administration's other initiatives to fight the opioid crisis include:
- Strengthening the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) so that doctors are required and able to check the system each time they prescribe opioids;
- Forming new prescribing guidelines to help doctors, including geriatricians, who provide opioid prescriptions to their patients;
- Creating the warm handoff guideline to facilitate referrals from the emergency department to substance abuse treatment;
- Educating and encouraging seniors to properly use, store and dispose of unused prescription medications through Drug Take-Back initiatives;
- Increasing the availability of naloxone;
- Establishing a new law limiting the amount of opioids that can be prescribed to a minor to seven days; and
- Designating 45 Centers of Excellence, central hubs that provide navigators to assist those with opioid use disorders with behavioral and physical health care, along with medication-assisted treatment, as needed.
If you or someone you know is suffering from the disease of addiction, call 1-800-662-HELP or visit www.pa.gov/opioids for treatment options. For more information on the fight against opioid abuse in Pennsylvania, visit the Department of Health website at www.health.pa.gov or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health