On Wednesday, January 10, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf declared a state of emergency due to the ongoing heroin and opioids addiction crisis in the state. In doing so, Pennsylvania became the eighth state in the nation to take this step. Normally reserved for the aftermath of a natural disaster, the declaration of a state of emergency shows just how out of control opioid abuse, addiction and overdoses have gotten.
This declaration will permit Pennsylvania officials to temporarily override any rules or regulations they deem to be hampering the state’s ability to quell the epidemic. As a result, it could lead to policy changes, the creation of drug-prevention programs and organizations and many other measures that could help turn things around in the addiction-ravaged state.
According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania has the fourth highest rate of drug overdose deaths per 100,000 people in the nation. In 2016, there were 4,642 drug overdose deaths in Pennsylvania, with approximately 3,900 attributed to opioids.