Pennsylvania heroin and opioid epidemic a disaster, governor says

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Wolf described the impact on individuals and families in the state, which experienced more than 4,600 fatal overdoses in 2016, an increase of more than one-third from the prior year.

The order extends these measures for 90 days, though both Wolf and acting secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs floated the notion that the declaration could open the door to more permanent measures.

The move is a first of its kind for Pennsylvania, which has one of the highest rates of drug overdoses in the country. The Philadelphia Fire Department will launch an EMS unit this summer that's dedicated to responding specifically to drug overdoses in the city's Kensington and Fairhill neighborhoods.

Philadelphia is home to the highest overdose numbers in the state, which city officials say may have hit 1,200 deaths previous year.

Treatment professionals welcomed the governor's proclamation and the steps the administration plans to take on account of it.

"We know that this crisis does not discriminate", Wolf said.

Fees to have a duplicate birth certificate produced will be waived.

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"Our role is really focused in on doing the things we normally do in any disaster, whether it's gathering information from a situation awareness perspective, working with state agencies identifying problems, and working with them on what they have, the ability to provide the resources to solve those problems", said Rick Flinn, director of PEMA.

See NBC10's national award-winning special report on the opioid crisis, Generation Addicted, right now by tapping here.

It also will let emergency responders dispense the overdose antidote naloxone when responding to a call for help.

"The Office of Attorney General arrests on average more than four drug dealers a day", Shapiro said in a statement. Previously, those conditions were not reportable unless there was a death or the parent was poor.

There are 13 initiatives set forth in the declaration, including the creation of an opioid command center at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

There are also some expansions of data sharing like the prescription drug monitoring program that they say will make sure doctors and patients are in compliance.

The move comes after President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a public emergency back in October, with White House adviser Kellyanne Conway calling it, "the crisis next door". Mr. Wolf will reportedly announce the declaration during a Wednesday press conference at 2:00 p.m. EST, an unnamed source close to the governor told Penn Live. He didn't rule out signing another emergency declaration in three months should officials need more time to better address the crisis.