Wolf asks Trump for more money to fight opioid epidemic
Gov. Tom Wolf Tuesday asked the federal government to provide more funding for the opioid abuse crisis and took a swipe at the Trump administration for failing to act on the recommendations of its own drug-fighting commission.
Wolf’s letter to President Trump came about a week after the governor declared the opioid abuse crisis a statewide disaster.
The governor did not request a specific dollar amount but said it would take the resources of the federal government to tackle the crisis.
“We have tried everything to make a dent: more treatment access and new treatment centers, more tools for communities, first responders and police, more access to the life-saving drug naloxone, more restrictions on prescribing, and more help for people suffering from addictions and their families, parents, and grandparents,” Wolf wrote.
“We will continue discussions with Congress on the appropriate level of funding needed to address this crisis,” he said.
A commission Trump appointed to examine opioid abuse issued a report in November recommending that the federal government distribute funding through block grants so states would have more discretion in how the money would be spent.
Wolf then made the disaster declaration Jan.10, declaring a first-ever statewide public health disaster and creating a command center at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to coordinate the state’s response. The next step is getting more money, he said.
“This national emergency demands significantly more resources, along with important policy recommendations from your commission,” Wolf said. “The rest of the recommendations from your Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis are awaiting action,” he said.
Wolf also has been called out for a slow response to the epidemic. One of the Republicans seeking to run against him this year, Pittsburgh businessman Paul Mango, called for an emergency disaster declaration last year. After Wolf’s declaration last week, Mango said the issue had been relegated to the “background” for too long.
The current federal budget allocates around $28 billion in funding for prevention, treatment, law enforcement and international drug interdiction programs, according to the task force report.