PA Governor Declares Opioid Crisis ‘Disaster Emergency,’ Waiving Regulations


HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- Governor Tom Wolf has declared Pennsylvania's opioid addiction epidemic a "disaster emergency." Usually, that designation is reserved for things like floods or hurricanes. This is the first time a Pennsylvania governor has used it for a health issue. The move is designed to let the state cut through red tape to address the opioid crisis more quickly. Pennsylvania currently has the fourth-highest rate of addiction-related deaths in the country, and while many states are starting to see their rates level off or begin to fall, the commonwealth's are rising.

PA Governor Set To Declare Opioid Epidemic A Disaster Emergency

Governor Tom Wolf is expected today to declare the heroin and opioid crisis in Pennsylvania a statewide emergency. He will use his authority to proclaim a disaster emergency, which is is normally reserved for cleanup and relief efforts after natural disasters or storms. READ FULL STORY HERE.

Study Shows Benefits Of Telemedicine And In-School Care For Kids With Asthma

ROCHESTER (WXXI) - Children with asthma who received a combination of telemedicine support and school based medication therapy were half as likely to need a trip to the emergency room or hospital for their asthma. That’s according to new research from the University of Rochester Medical Center in partnership with the Rochester City School District. Professor of pediatrics at URMC and lead author of the study Jill Halterman said the focus is on preventative measures. She said asthma symptoms can be managed effectively as long as children are diagnosed and take any necessary medications consistently. "Those are medications that need to be taken every day even when the child is not having symptoms. But it’s tricky because many kids who need those medications aren’t getting them, or maybe aren’t getting them consistently.

PA Medical Marijuana Growers And Patients Open To Prosecution Under New Federal Policy

Medical marijuana has been legal in Pennsylvania since 2016, but to the federal government it's been illegal for the better part of a century. States pushed back against federal law throughout the years, and in 1996 California passed a proposition allowing medical marijuana use in some cases. That ruling put the state at odds with federal law, though the federal government largely was inactive on the issue. Read full story here. 

Broome Legislature Approves Funding For Addiction Treatment Center

In front of a standing room only crowd, the Broome County Legislature voted to accept New York state funding for an addiction treatment center on Wednesday. The nearly $2.7 million comes through the state’s Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, or OASAS. The facility will be located at the former Broome County Developmental Center in Binghamton. It's expected to be hold 50 beds for supervised withdrawal and stabilization. Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare will provide services.

New York Climbs To Number 10 In National Health Ranking

WBFO (BUFFALO) - A report ranking all 50 states on how they’re dealing with public health issues places New York at number 10 this year. The 2017 America’s Health Rankings report from the United Health Foundation looks at 35 measures covering behaviors, community and environment, policy, clinical care, and outcomes data to rank every state across the nation in how they deal with public health issues. Moving up three ranks since last year, New York State now sits at number 10 in the country. “What that tells us is that New York is doing fairly well and progressing towards becoming a healthier and healthier state,” said Dr. Adam Aponte, Medical Director of UnitedHealthcare Community and State for New York. “It’s still not in the top five, but interestingly enough the top five are all in the northeast region.”

Among the five categories, New York’s best overall average comes in the policy arena where it ranked eighth in the nation.

PA Officials: Budget Constraints Limit Care For Mentally Ill Inmates

KEYSTONE CROSSWORDS - Following a U.S. Department of Justice investigation in 2014, the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, demanding changes to provide better care for mentally ill inmates. DOC settled in 2015, and three years later, the state says it no longer uses solitary confinement as prevalently. “We no longer utilize the same level of segregation that we did prior to the reports and the investigations,” said Lynn Patrone, DOC’s mental health advocate. She said the department is working to meet the requirement that the settlement put forward to divert inmates into treatment instead of solitary confinement. Patrone said even when the misconduct of inmates with mental illness results in solitary confinement, they are offered 20 hours of out-of-cell activities per week.

Hershey Company Making Healthier Snacks With Latest Acquisition

(Harrisburg) -- The Hershey Company is making a move to gain a stronger foothold in the "better for you" snacking market. It's the chocolate-maker's second non-candy acquisition in the last three years. Hershey has agreed to pay $1.6 billion for Texas-based Amplify Snack Brands, which makes healthy snacks like Skinny Pop popcorn and Oatmega protein bars. Read full story here.