Philadelphia House Delegation responds to opioid emergency declaration lapse

HARRISBURG, Aug. 25 – State Rep. and Philadelphia Delegation Chairman Jason Dawkins today made the following statement on behalf of the delegation addressing the Republican denial of an extension on Gov. Tom Wolf’s opioid emergency declaration.

“It is shameful that the majority party has decided to allow for the lapse of this very important designation. Opioid addiction is Pennsylvania’s other epidemic and was at one point moving in the right direction, with overdose deaths falling since 2018. But with COVID-19, opioid use is up again, but this time the Republican majority has decided to let the governor's opioid disaster declaration expire, setting up Pennsylvania for yet another healthcare war to wage in addition to COVID. It is shameful, particularly when we know things were working. The Republicans punishing Governor Wolf and trying to cut him out of this process does nothing for the many people who battle this every day. As our city has seen the harsh reality of this as much as any municipality in the commonwealth, it is with much regret that we are witnessing the dismantling of such an important declaration.”

The declaration was first signed in January 2018 to help the commonwealth fight the deadly opioid and heroin epidemic and was renewed 15 times, most recently on Aug. 4.

Since 2017, when naloxone was made available to first responders, more than 16,000 overdose reversals have been reported, close to 80 trainings conducted and more than 50 outreach events held to increase awareness and understanding of opioid use, misuse and the importance of naloxone.