Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf Administration today announced the launch of a new interactive data report system that provides information on opioid prescribing and drug overdoses that will help the Opioid Operational Command Center identify communities that are experiencing spikes in overdoses.
“In my disaster declaration, I created the Opioid Operational Command Center to be able to track this type of data so communities in need can get help in real-time,” Governor Tom Wolf said. “We know that there are times when overdoses spike because of tainted heroin on the streets. This tool will help the Command Center respond quickly with every resource the state can provide.”
The data is collected through the Department of Health’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) using the information reported by prescribers. The interactive data report system also collects data from emergency departments from across Pennsylvania. Of the 171 of emergency rooms in the state, 152 are reporting as part of the report system.
“This data is critical to not only determining where resources are needed, but to identify localized prescribing trends,” Acting Health Secretary and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine said. “We will be able to use this tool to improve education and resources for prescribers to ensure that opioids are being prescribed judiciously to patients.”
The interactive data report system is made possible by the Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance grant, provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On January 10, Governor Wolf signed a statewide disaster declaration for the opioid epidemic to enhance state response, increase access to treatment, and save lives.
The disaster declaration focuses on 13 initial initiatives:
- Establishes an Opioid Command Center located at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency;
- Expands access to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) to other commonwealth entities for clinical decision-making purposes;
- Adds overdoses and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) as Reportable Conditions in Title 28, Chapter 27;
- Authorizes an emergency purchase under the procurement code for the 24/7 helpline, 1-800-662-HELP;
- Enables Emergency Medical Services providers to leave behind naloxone by amending the current Standing Order;
- Waives regulations to allow pharmacists to give greater access to naloxone to prisons and treatment programs;
- Allows for the immediate temporary rescheduling of all fentanyl derivatives to align with the federal DEA schedule while working toward permanent rescheduling;
- Authorizes emergency purchasing to allow for an emergency contract to expand the advanced body scanner pilot program currently in place at Wernersville that is used on re-entrants returning to the facility;
- Waives the face-to-face physician requirement for Narcotic Treatment Program (NTP) to allow initial intake review by a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (CRNP) or Physician Assistant (PA);
- Expands access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) by waiving the regulatory provision to permit dosing at satellite facilities;
- Waives annual licensing requirements for high-performing drug and alcohol treatment facilities;
- Waives the fee provided for in statute for birth certificates for individuals who request a good-cause waiver by attesting that they are affected by Opioid Use Disorder; and
- Waives separate licensing requirements for hospitals and emergency departments to expand access to drug and alcohol treatment to allow physicians to administer short-term MAT consistent with DEA regulations without requiring separate notice to DDAP.
Governor Wolf and state agencies have been increasing efforts in the fight against prescription drug abuse in multiple areas, including numerous programs and initiatives:
- Working with the legislature to establish a new law limiting the number of opioids that can be prescribed to a minor and to individuals discharged from emergency rooms to seven days;
- Strengthening the PDMP through the legislative process so that doctors are required and able to check the system each time they prescribe opioids and benzodiazepines;
- Forming new prescribing guidelines to help doctors who provide opioid prescriptions to their patients, including guidelines specific to orthopedics and sports medicine;
- Creating the warm handoff guideline to facilitate referrals from the emergency department to substance abuse treatment;
- Teaming with the legislature to establish education curriculum on safe prescribing for medical schools; and
- Awarding four $1 million grants for medication-assisted treatment using a hub and spoke model for Pennsylvanians who are uninsured, under-insured or have private insurance.
Pennsylvania residents and/or patients, licensed medical professionals and users of the system can request information by contacting the PDMP office at RA-DH-PDMP@pa.gov.
For more information on the state’s efforts to battle the opioid epidemic, visit https://www.pa.gov/guides/opioid-epidemic/ or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
J.J. Abbott, Governor’s Office, 717-783-1116, or firstname.lastname@example.org
April Hutcheson, Department of Health. 717-787-1783 or email@example.com
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