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November 30, 2018

Pennsylvania to receive $10 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies to fight opioid overdose deaths

The state has among the highest rates of heroin- and painkiller-related deaths in the country

Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropy organization announced Friday it will donate $50 million to states fighting the opioid crisis, and Pennsylvania will receive the first $10 million.

Gov. Tom Wolf, who spent Friday with Bloomberg in Washington and Philadelphia, told the Washington Post he expects the money will go toward efforts that are already underway across the state, like distribution of naloxone, or expansion of the state’s network of centers intended to help opioid users access treatment.

In October 2017, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency. Trump said at the time that addressing the epidemic would require “all of our effort.” 

Pennsylvania's 2015 opioid-related death rate had increased by 103 percent compared to 1999, rising from 9.9 deaths to 20.12 deaths per 100,000 people.

“Pennsylvania has been one of the states hardest hit by the opioid epidemic, but Gov. Wolf has been a real leader on the issue,” Bloomberg said Friday. “We’ll work to help him tackle opioids from every angle, and save more lives around the state.”

Just this week, new reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed a drop in life expectancy in the United States, thanks in part to rising overdose rates.

The CDC data revealed the rate of drug overdoses jumped 9.6 percent between 2016 and 2017, with 70,237 deaths last year. The highest rates of drug overdose-related deaths were concentrated in only a few states, including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and the District of Columbia.

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