Gov. Tom Wolf signed the 15th renewal of his January 2018 opioid disaster declaration yesterday to help the state fight the opioid and heroin epidemic. This opioid disaster declaration will last 21 days or until the General Assembly takes action to extend the declaration by August 26. The governor had sent a letter to the General Assembly on July 30 stating his intent to renew the declaration and asking their leaders to consider returning to Harrisburg to extend the disaster declaration to allow for a renewal of collective efforts around the opioid crisis.
Preliminary numbers show there have been 5,063 drug overdose deaths reported for 2020 through July 21, 2021. In comparison, Pennsylvania saw 4,458 drug overdose deaths in 2019. The update reveals that 2020 ranks second to 2017, when there were 5,403 overdose deaths, the most in a single year since the opioid epidemic began. Additional overdose death reports from 2020 are expected to trickle in over the next couple of months.
For more information on Pennsylvania’s response to the opioid crisis, click here.