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Quotables: Gov's Wolf's declared opioid 'disaster'

| Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, 9:00 p.m.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf shows the document he signed declaring a state of emergency in the state's fight against heroin and opioid addiction during a news conference at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. In the background are Acting Secretary of Health and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine, left, and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Director Richard D. Flinn Jr. Wolf signed an order for the 90-day disaster declaration, widening access to the state's prescription drug monitoring program and making it easier for medical professionals to get people into drug treatment more quickly. (Blaine T. Shahan/LNP via AP)
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf shows the document he signed declaring a state of emergency in the state's fight against heroin and opioid addiction during a news conference at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. In the background are Acting Secretary of Health and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine, left, and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Director Richard D. Flinn Jr. Wolf signed an order for the 90-day disaster declaration, widening access to the state's prescription drug monitoring program and making it easier for medical professionals to get people into drug treatment more quickly. (Blaine T. Shahan/LNP via AP)

Gov. Tom Wolf's disaster declaration last week against heroin and opioid addiction, the first such announcement of it kind in Pennsylvania, shines a light where one has been long focused. More importantly, it relaxes some regulations with an eye toward expediting treatment where it can do the most good. Aspects of the 90-day disaster declaration include allowing pharmacists to partner with other organizations to increase access to the opioid-reversal drug naloxone; waiving fees for birth certificates for addicts to increase access to treatment; and waiving annual licensing requirements for high-performing drug and alcohol treatment centers. No less important is reaching people before they abuse opioids and/or turn to street heroin laced with deadly fentanyl.

“I do not take this action lightly, but we know that this crisis has taken far too many lives, broken too many families and communities, and has gone on for far too long. We cannot allow it to continue.”

TOM WOLF

Pennsylvania's governor

“It's critical to emphasize that addiction and opioid use disorders are diseases, not a moral failing. Treatment works. Recovery is possible.”

RACHEL LEVINE

Pennsylvania's acting secretary of Health and physician general

“Our arrests of medical personnel and others for illegally diverting prescription drugs are up 72 percent. Our national investigation with 41 attorneys general of the pharmaceutical industry and the opioid painkillers fueling this epidemic is ongoing and active.”

JOSH SHAPIRO

Pennsylvania's attorney general

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