SCRANTON, January 10, 2018 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today commended Governor Tom Wolf for his declaration of a statewide emergency in Pennsylvania’s heroin and opioid addiction crisis.

“I commend Governor Wolf for his steadfast attention to this crisis and for his dedication to fighting the opioid epidemic on all fronts. This is an addiction that affects people in all walks of life – rich and poor, urban and rural – and we are always working with families struggling with loved ones that are suffering from this dangerous addiction,” Blake said. “The state of emergency declaration further indicates that Pennsylvania will leave no stone unturned in our fight to end this tragic epidemic and that we will continue to support those suffering and their families through these very difficult times.”  

Blake indicated that the disaster declaration will enhance coordination and data collection to bolster state and local response; improve tools for families, first responders and others to save lives; and speed up and expand access to treatment.

“Lackawanna County is faced with an alarming increase in opioid-related deaths and hospitalizations in recent years and while we have made strides by increasing state funding and expanding access to treatment, our region needs more resources and treatment options for those struggling with addiction and abuse,” Blake added. “I continue to work with the Department of Human Services and the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs to find ways to expand our treatment capacity in Northeastern Pennsylvania. We have seen how we can influence positive outcomes by establishing effective treatment courts and I commend the visionary work being done by President Judge Mike Barrasse and all judges on the Court of Common Pleas in Lackawanna County.”  

The 2017-18 budget included funding that expanded access to the life-saving overdose antidote Naloxone for first responders and law enforcement across the state and expanded access to treatment centers. The Centers of Excellence that expanded treatment for substance abuse disorder to 11,000 Pennsylvanians will continue to be fully funded.

“It is critical that we continue to make smart state investments to assure proper treatment and healing for those caught in the tragedy of the opioid epidemic,” Blake said. “In the 2017-18 state budget, we fought to secure nearly $76 million in funding for our opioid and heroin response – fully funding for our 45 Centers for Excellence across the commonwealth including the Wright Center.”

# # #