Governor Tom Wolf addressed the participants in the 2019 BIO International Conference panel, “Addressing Barriers to Coverage and Access to Pain and Addiction Treatment: Where Are We Now?” by offering the state’s perspective and progress in addressing the opioid crisis.
“Finding ways to decrease the number of opioid overdoses and deaths have become a priority for my administration,” Gov. Wolf told the group. “State agencies working collaboratively in the Opioid Command Center, which I created via a disaster declaration in January 2018, have been able to implement strategies such as expanding Medicaid so more people can access treatment, promoting a 24/7 helpline, strengthening our Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and introducing the Pennsylvania Overdose Information Network, or ODIN.”
ODIN collects data about overdoses, opioid seizures, locations of opioid-related incidents and other opioid-related information from more than 1,000 police stations and 300 other agencies.
By bringing together data about overdoses, opioid seizures, locations of opioid-related incidents and other crucial information, law enforcement officials have been able to make better decisions about how to target heroin and fentanyl distributors. And healthcare and public safety officials can more adeptly respond to potential crises, which can ultimately save lives.
The 2019 Biotechnology Innovation Organization or BIO, international conference features more than 500 education sessions focused on various aspects of biotech and life sciences and their importance in discovering new cures and treatments for people in need of life-saving medications. BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations.
“In Pennsylvania, we’re serious about ending the opioid crisis and we’re always looking for new ideas,” Gov. Wolf said. “Though some communities reported a drop in overdoses in 2018, we still have much work to do. I’ll continue to do everything in my power to help address this crisis.”