Cumberland County, Pa. - Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed a statewide disaster declaration in the fight against the opioid and heroin epidemic this week.
It's the first of its kind of declaration in a health emergency. The declaration has sparked the start of a number of initiatives, including giving first responders the ability to leave Naloxone dosages behind with patients who refused to go to the hospital following an overdose.
However, Assistant Chief Nathan Harig of Cumberland Goodwill EMS says leaving some doses of the overdose-reversal drug may not be financially feasible for the agencies. Harig says the financials hardship can be seen as many ambulances in the Commonwealth have recently closed, or merged. He says many struggle to have enough Naloxone dosages to handle their own calls. He says if the state wants them to respond, and hand out extra dosages, there needs to be more funding in Medicaid growth for ambulances.
The statewide disaster declaration is valid for 90 days. A full list of initiatives being taken can be found here.