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Wolf declares opioid disaster/Chesapeake Bay Barometer

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | Jan 10, 2018 8:00 PM
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On the Thursday January 11th, 2018 edition of WITF's Smart Talk:

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has declared the heroin and opioid epidemic a statewide disaster emergency.  The declaration makes history as it is the first-of-its-kind for a public health emergency in Pennsylvania.

The governor's action has 13 initiatives that include establishing an Opioid Command Center at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency in Harrisburg and allowing Emergency Medical Service providers to dispense Naloxone that can be used to save overdose patients.

The Centers for Disease Control reports more than 52 hundred Pennsylvanians died of overdoses in 2017 -- an increase of more than 600 from the year before.

Pennsylvania Secretary of Policy and Planning Sarah Galbally appears on Thursday's Smart Talk to explain what the emergency disaster declaration means.

Here is additional information about fentanyl that was discussed during the program:

Fentanyl is legally prescribed by physicians, including fentanyl patches, etc., often for chronic or severe pain.  It is Schedule II.  The fentanyl that is on the streets is more often referred to as illegal fentanyl or nonpharmaceutical fentanyl. 

 Information here from the CDC on both legal and illegal fentanyl.

The Chesapeake Bay Program released a report last week indicating improvements in the health of the bay.  The Bay Barometer: Health and Restoration in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed 2016 - 2017 used twenty different metrics to record the cleanliness and sustainability of the bay, including the viability of underwater flora, water-life populations and pollution content.

Many targets were met; the blue crab population is thriving; nitrogen and phosphorus levels are dropping significantly and water quality in the bay and its tributaries are meeting standards.  The CBP report also recorded civic engagement in the preservation of the Chesapeake; "Environmental Literacy and Planning, Student Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences and Citizen Stewardship" were all factors in considering the bay's health.

On Thursday's Smart Talk, we discuss the findings of the report, what this means for recreation and commerce on the bay and what aspects of the Chesapeake's sustainability still need to be addressed with Harry Campbell Executive Director Pennsylvania Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Alison Prost, Interim Vice President of Environmental Protection & Restoration for the Bay Foundation.


Harry Campbell - Executive Director, Pennsylvania Chesapeake Bay Foundation



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