Most recently, Governor Tom Wolf has attended up to 20 roundtable discussions across the state, in hopes of fighting the current opioid addiction crisis. Democratic State Senators have devised a 4-part plan that the Governor is currently reviewing.
As some may already be aware, this current dilemma has taken us by storm. An estimated 800 heroin-related deaths occurred in Pennsylvania in 2014 and the numbers for 15’-16’ are projected to exceed that. Reports also show that most heroin addicts first begin abusing some sort of opioid medication. Due to high street values and a person’s increased tolerance, these individuals turn to its cheaper and stronger alternative, heroin.
So the question remains. How do we stop addiction?
Senators across the state have presented Governor Wolf with a plan of action. Senator Judy Schwank has proposed the possibility of taxing prescription opioid medication. They are hoping this would be a step in the right direction. Senator Jay Costa of Alleghany County would also like to tax opioid medications. The bill stipulates a 10% tax on first time shipments within the state, prohibiting retail tax. The Senators would like at least $35 million of the estimated $60 million produced to go directly towards state funded drug and alcohol treatment.
Another bill, to come from the office of Senator Brewster of Allegheny County, calls for loan forgiveness from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, for those enrolled to become Addiction Treatment Professionals. Also, Senator John Wozniak of Cambria County is pushing for a children’s opioid medication awareness program.
Although the 4-part plan has not yet been endorsed by the Governor, the Senators doubt they will see any resistance. Jeff Sheridan, Wolf’s spokesman, does not want to predict what will exactly come from the roundtables, but the Governor’s office already has a multitude of new proposals. One of which includes spending roughly $34 million on “health homes” for those untreated for drug addiction.
As you can see, our state’s politician have several different plans to offer more treatment for those afflicted with these disease. We have also seen an increased interest in regulating the way our doctors prescribe opioid medication and offering the proper education and training in regards to addiction. Although the change will not occur over night, it is good to know people are beginning to take action.
At Clearbrook, we have watched what opioid addiction can do people, their families and the community as a whole. For over 40 years, we have had the privilege of providing quality treatment to those suffering from a drug and alcohol problem. Our staff provides insight into the Disease Model and offers the tools necessary to achieve sobriety. If you are struggling with a heroin or opiate drug problem, contact our Admission Specialists today, and get the help you need.