Opioid and heroin abuse is an epidemic Pennsylvania struggles to overcome every day. In 2015, more than 3,300 people in Pennsylvania died as a result of an overdose, on average 10 people per day.
Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation in 2016 limiting emergency room doctors to a seven-day limit on any opioid prescription. In order to manage and control how many people are using prescription drugs, the legislation also requires prescribers to check a drug database everytime doctors prescribe opioids.
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“I chose to fight the opioid crisis head on,” Wolf said.
The plan of action his administration has developed in response to the opioid crisis includes:
- Holding 91 opioid roundtable discussions
- Development of 45 treatment centers for those battling addiction
- Working to limit opioid prescriptions to minors
- Improving education for opioid prescribers
- Strengthening the prescription drug monitoring program
- Limiting opioid prescriptions to emergency room patients
- Expanding drop-off locations for unwanted prescription drugs
Wolf notes that his concern about drug use in the state extends beyond opioids. He's been reluctant to pass a recreational marijuana bill, he says, because, “I don’t think Pennsylvania is ready for it.”
During his tenure, however, medical marijuana has been legalized in the commonwealth.