Governor Wolf issues disaster declaration because of heroin and opioid epidemic

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Governor Tom Wolf signed a statewide disaster declaration on Wednesday that allows the state to do more to fight the drug epidemic.

It is a 'first-of-its-kind' declaration in a health emergency, officials said, and the latest step in the fight against heroin and opioids.

There are 13 initiatives set forth in the declaration, including the creation of an opioid command center at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

There are several reclassifications under the declaration. Overdoses and neonatal abstinence syndrome are now reportable conditions to the health department, giving them better data on where non-fatal overdoses are taking place to send resources.

Several regulations will also be waived that officials say will expand access to treatment.

There are also some expansions of data sharing like the prescription drug monitoring program that they say will make sure doctors and patients are in compliance.

Click here to see a full list of the initiatives set forth.

The declaration is valid for 90 days because that is the maximum allowed under the state Constitution. Administration officials said there has already been discussion about extending it into the future.