HARRISBURG, Pa (Erie News Now) – Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has renewed the state’s opioid disaster declaration to help the state fight the opioid and heroin epidemic, his administration announced Wednesday.
This is the 15th time it has been extended. The disaster declaration was first issued in January 2018.
It will last 21 days or until lawmakers take steps to extend the declaration by Aug. 26.
“As we see a spike in overdoses throughout the commonwealth, there has never been a more important time to concentrate our efforts in helping individuals with substance use disorder, especially opioid use disorder,” said Gov. Wolf in a statement. “This ongoing public health crisis has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. It takes coordination from staff and resources to support and sustain our response across Pennsylvania.”
There have been 5,063 drug overdose deaths reported for 2020 through July 21, 2021. In comparison, Pennsylvania saw 4,458 drug overdose deaths in 2019. In 2017, there were 5,403 overdose deaths, which is the most overdose deaths in a single year since the opioid epidemic began. Additional overdose death reports from 2020 are expected to come in over the next couple of months.