Stem the tide of the opioid epidemic

"Our continuing goal is to make forward progress in fighting the scourge that is the heroin and opioid crisis in Pennsylvania."
-Governor Tom Wolf

Why is this goal important?

The opioid crisis is a public health emergency in Pennsylvania that is contributing to addiction, overdose emergencies, and deaths. The crisis is unprejudiced in its reach and devastation, impacting all areas of the state – including urban, suburban, and rural communities – and Pennsylvanians of all ages. However, Pennsylvania's experience shows that, with a proactive response, it is possible to prevent substance use disorders, increase access to treatment, and rescue those in dire need. 

What are we working on to reach this goal?

Governor Wolf has made fighting the opioid crisis a top priority of the administration. Since signing Pennsylvania's statewide disaster declaration for the heroin and opioid epidemic, data released from the Drug Enforcement Agency shows the number of overdose deaths in Pennsylvania was 18 percent lower in 2018 than in 2017. The governor secured funding to implement 45 Centers of Excellence (COE) throughout the commonwealth that, to date, have provided a level-of-care assessment for substance use disorder to more than 11,000 individuals. The Wolf Administration has established the Pennsylvania Coordinated Medication-Assisted Treatment (PacMAT) program, which expands access to Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) via a hub-and-spoke network of health care providers. The administration has also strengthened Pennsylvania's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), which enables health care providers to safely prescribe controlled substances to their patients, made life-saving naloxone available to anyone in Pennsylvania via a standing order prescription signed by the secretary of health, and launched a 24/7 helpline (1-800-662-HELP) for those who need immediate assistance with drug and alcohol problems. 

How are we doing?

The data presented below shows a decline in drug overdose deaths between 2017 and 2018, but there is more work to do. The Wolf Administration remains focused on saving lives, preventing substance use disorders, expanding treatment access, and getting patients into treatment.  

Related Measures

Preventing Addiction

To help prevent prescription drug abuse and protect the health and safety of our community, Pennsylvania's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) collects information on all filled prescriptions for controlled substances. An opioid "dispensation" is any prescription filled and provided to a patient by a pharmacy, including a new prescription or a refill of an existing prescription. This chart and map below provide quarterly county- and state-level counts and population-based rates for all opioid dispensations, excluding buprenorphine, which is reported separately.

Access to Treatment

Pennsylvania’s licensed treatment facilities, Centers of Excellence, and PacMAT are locations where individuals can access treatment for opioid use disorder. The map below shows the location of these facilities and provides information on how to contact them. 

Connecting People with Help

Pennsylvania’s Get Help Now hotline launched in November 2016. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can accommodate 240 languages. Anyone can access the hotline by calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or by texting 717-216-0905.

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