Gov. Tom Wolf took “bolstering” action in the opioid crisis by signing a statewide disaster declaration on Wednesday.

The declaration plans to enhance state response, increase access to treatment, and, ultimately, save lives. For the first time in Pennsylvania history, a public health emergency will utilize a command center at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

“We are still losing far too many Pennsylvanians,” Gov. Wolf wrote. “I am using every tool at my disposal to get those suffering from substance use disorders into treatment…and improve response coordination.”

There are 13 key initiatives included that combine all state agencies with a focus on the departments of Health, Drug and Alcohol Programs, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, and the Pennsylvania State Police.

The 13 initiatives are organized into three areas:

  • Enhancing Coordination and Data Collection to Bolster State and Local Response
  • Improving Tools for Families, First Responders, and Others to Save Lives
  • Speeding Up and Expanding Access to Treatment

For full details on the programs click here.

In Bucks County, State Reps Gene DiGirolamo, Tina Davis, and John Galloway released statements almost immediately in support of the measure.

DiGirolamo, chairman of the House Human Services Committee, is looking forward to working with the governor and the Senate on an issue his Committee has “dedicated significant time and resources” to find solutions.

Davis supports the Gov, especially in labeling the state’s current drug situation a disaster. Davis sees a new opportunity for Senate Bill 446 on recovery housing regulation.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016, Pennsylvania was ranked 4th highest in opioid-related deaths with a 44.1 percent change from 2015.

“He stepped up to the plate in a big way, I congratulate Gov. Wolf, and I thank him,” Galloway told WBCB.

Galloway mentioned his recent work with Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub who created the ‘Push Out The Pusher‘ campaign.

WBCB 1490 AM story: