PA’s Opioid Disaster Declaration Ended on Aug. 25

Last Updated: Sep 1, 2021

The Pennsylvania General Assembly has declined to extend Gov. Wolf’s disaster declaration. While physicians should not notice substantial changes in their daily obligations, it is important to note the end to this declaration. 

In January 2018, Gov. Wolf signed an executive order declaring a statewide disaster emergency due to the opioid epidemic and has continued to renew this declaration every ninety days since then. Over the past three and a half years, the declaration was extended a total of fifteen times.

In the May 2021 primary election, voters approved two constitutional amendments that limit the Governor’s authority regarding disaster declarations. Pursuant to the second of these two amendments, the Governor may only declare a disaster declaration for a period of 21 days. If either or both houses fail to affirmatively extend the declaration, it expires after 21 days.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly declined to extend the opioid disaster declaration and it thus expired on Aug. 25, 2021.

A press release by the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) highlights efforts taken by the Wolf Administration over the past several years to address the opioid epidemic. This press release can be accessed here.  

The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) has developed several resources to help educate Pennsylvania physicians and help them navigate the growing opioid abuse epidemic. You can find these resources in PAMED’s Opioid Abuse Resource Center here.

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