SUNBURY – Its been a week since Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf Wednesday declared a statewide disaster emergency because of the heroin and opioid epidemic. He said its the first ever public health disaster declaration.
Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way President and CEO Joanne Troutman offered some reaction, she called the governor’s declaration a bold move that’s also long overdue, “I realize and many people realize this is a signal that major resources are being put toward it. It’s not that resources haven’t been put directly toward it before, but I think it’s a demonstration we’re at a really critical time in this crisis.”
The declaration calls for an increase to treatment access, utilizing a command center at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. The center will track progress and enhance coordination of health and public safety agencies.
Troutman says there will be more activity from Valley coalitions soon and she says the challenge remains keeping up with the ongoing crisis, “That hasn’t quite happened yet, as evidenced by the numbers. But with the number of people that are behind it, with the resources and the funding, and now this, I really have a lot of confidence that hopefully this will give us the momentum to move forward in a way that we need to.”
You can see the full release of the governor’s emergency declaration at WKOK.com. (Matt Catrillo)