DALLAS, Pa., Jan. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Health Karen Murphy today addressed a crowd of students, professors, and community members at Misericordia University and discussed the Wolf Administration's efforts to combat the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania.
"The opioid epidemic is the worst public health crisis I've seen so far in my professional career," Secretary Murphy said. "This area of Pennsylvania has been hit hard by heroin and prescription opioid overdoses. Across the commonwealth in 2015, nearly 3,500 Pennsylvanians died from a drug overdose, and more individuals are killed each year by heroin and opioid overdose than motor vehicle accidents."
The Wolf Administration holds the fight against heroin and prescription opioids as a top priority. Some of the administration's initiatives to fight the opioid epidemic include:
- Signing a standing order which allows anyone in the public to acquire naloxone, a life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug, at any pharmacy in the commonwealth without a prescription;
- 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 who provide opioid prescriptions to their patients;
- Creating the warm handoff guideline to facilitate referrals from the emergency department to substance abuse treatment; and
- Establishing a new law limiting the amount of opioids that can be prescribed to a minor to seven days.
"Many of the students, professionals, and members of the community in the audience today are affected or know someone who has been impacted by this devastating epidemic," Secretary Murphy added. "Today's forum is an excellent example of many different individuals coming together to help build the solutions to end this crisis."
Misericordia University has been very active in the fight against the opioid epidemic. It has used grant funding to create the Addiction Counseling Education and Interprofessional Treatment (ACE‐IT) program, which will provide direct access to counseling and pharmacy services for children and families affected by addiction. The university will also provide the coursework needed for graduate health care providers to obtain addiction counseling certification.
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.
MEDIA CONTACT: April Hutcheson, 717-787-1783
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pa-secretary-of-health-highlights-wolf-administrations-efforts-to-combat-the-opioid-epidemic-at-misericordia-university-public-forum-300390856.html
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health