HARRISBURG, Pa., May 3, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine today explained how the Wolf Administration plans to use the $26.5 million 21st Century Cures Grant in its ongoing effort to curb the opioid epidemic with members of the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED).
"The funding that Governor Wolf was able to secure under the 21st Century Cures Grant is essential to support our effort to help Pennsylvanians suffering from addiction," said Dr. Levine. "Ensuring access to treatment allows us to offer hope to those struggling with the disease of addiction. I thank PAMED for allowing me to join them and discuss this incredibly important topic."
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the grant, which totals $1 billion nationwide over the next two years. The grant will help combat the heroin and opioid epidemic in all 50 states. Pennsylvania received the fourth-largest grant award, behind California, Texas and Florida.
States can use the federal grants to increase access to and capacity for treatment, improve prescription drug monitoring programs, implement prevention activities, and train health care providers on overdose prevention and recognizing potential cases of substance abuse.
The Wolf Administration holds the fight against heroin and prescription opioids as a top priority. To continue the battle against the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania, 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, law enforcement, and other public entities across the commonwealth;
- 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 epidemic include:
- Working with the legislature to establish a new law limiting the amount of opioids that can be prescribed to a minor and to individuals discharged from emergency rooms to seven days;
- Strengthening the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) through the legislative process so that doctors are required and able to check the system each time they prescribe opioids and benzodiazepines;
- 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;
- Teaming with the legislature to establish education curricula on safe prescribing for medical schools;
- Educating and encouraging patients to properly use, store and dispose of unused prescription medications through drug take-back initiatives, and expanding the number of drug take-back locations to more than 500; and
- Increasing the availability of naloxone.
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