Governor Wolf Backs Casey Bill to Combat Opioid Epidemic, Bolster Treatment November 02, 2017 National Issues, Press Release, Public Health, Substance Use Disorder Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today urged Congress to swiftly pass the “Combating the Opioid Epidemic Act” introduced by U.S. Senators Bob Casey and Ed Markey. This bill would provide approximately $4.5 billion per year for substance abuse programs to states over the next decade. This $45 billion proposal is similar to the Republican-backed component of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) of 2017.“In Pennsylvania, our efforts to save lives and get people into treatment are making a difference but there is still more work do to and the federal government must be a bigger partner,” Governor Wolf said. “With 13 overdose deaths each day, a sense of urgency is vital and will continue. Washington must do more to give states resources and tools to get people help. We know that treatment works, and this legislation would pump important resources into states like Pennsylvania battling this scourge. “In Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf has made expanding treatment a priority: the governor’s Medicaid Expansion has provided treatment to more than 125,000 individuals and the governor’s Centers of Excellence initiative has implemented more than 45 treatment centers across the commonwealth.“Too many families are being torn apart by this epidemic and it is causing real pain for law enforcement, health professionals and all of our communities,” Governor Wolf said. “I urge Congress and President Trump to enact the Casey-Markey bill into law, as these resources will have an immediate impact on this crisis and help save lives and families.”Learn more about Senator Casey’s “Combatting the Opioid Epidemic Act” here.In addition to expanding treatment programs in Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf has led a robust effort to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic by:Securing a $26.5 million federal grant to support prevention, treatment, and recovery services to battle the opioid epidemic. Securing $5 million in funding for 60,000 additional naloxone kits for first responders in all 67 counties of the state.Receiving a $5.7 million federal grant for a comprehensive medication-assisted treatment program in western Pennsylvania.Awarding four $1-million grants for the creation of community-specific medication-assisted treatment programs. Growing the number of drug take-back boxes to more than 700 and destroyed more than 301,300 pounds of drugs.Equipping law enforcement, first responders, and schools with the overdose-reversing antidote naloxone, reversing nearly 4,000 heroin and opioid overdoses since 2014.Issuing a standing order — a prescription written for the general public, rather than specifically for an individual — for overdose-reversing antidote naloxone.Strengthening the use of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) , which enables health care providers to safely prescribe controlled substances to their patients. 90,000 physicians have conducted more than 1 million searches since the program became operational in 2016.Improving prescribing guidelines for the safe and effective use of opioids, including in sports medicine, for minors, and Pennsylvanians on Medicaid, as well as improved education for medical professionals on opioid prescribing.Launching a 24/7 helpline, 1-800-662-HELP, for those who need immediate assistance with drug and alcohol problems. More than 15,000 Pennsylvanians have contacted the statewide helpline for assistance. SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
Big issue 1: Otto Porter Jr. and a point guard. For the Bulls, those are the keys to getting the future into gear.If Porter can be what he appeared to be in his limited time in Chicago — he only donned a Bulls uniform 15 times after his trade from Washington — the Bulls’ rebuilding process could get a major jumpstart. MORE: Greatest Bulls players of all timeBut most of the positive news about the Bulls is only expressed in snippets — a good stretch from Markkanen here, a solid impact from Porter there, a good month-and-a-half shooting the ball. It’s a long way from doing so consistently over 82 games.There is work to be done to get the Bulls to be that more consistent team — positions that need to be filled, hatchets that need to be buried and young players that need to cut back on mistakes. But there are, at least, pieces in place. OFFSEASON PREVIEWS: Lakers | KnicksThe Bulls were 7-3 in their first 10 games with Porter, and overall, his numbers were sterling. Released from the confines of playing with the Wizards’ ball-dominant guards, Porter shined, posting 17.5 points 15 games and flashing his ultra-efficient scoring arsenal. He made 48.8 percent of his 3-pointers and remains one of the better midrange shooters in the league.He is a versatile defender on a team that badly needs one on the perimeter, and Porter is the only piece of the Bulls’ core who has playoff experience, with four appearances in the postseason. He figures to be the ideal third option, and there should be some excitement over what he might do for the team next season.But Porter is not a guy who can carry the offensive load. That will fall to Zach LaVine, who averaged 23.7 points in his first full season after recovering from an ACL tear and signing a new contract. The team’s No. 2 option is fast-developing second-year forward Lauri Markkanen.Now, the tricky part — getting a point guard. Maybe the Bulls are willing to give Kris Dunn, who did not make much of a leap forward this season, another shot. Maybe they’ll have no choice.Ideally, the Bulls would draft Murray State star Ja Morant, and they’re in decent position to do so. Four of the five teams around them with potential top-five picks — the Hawks, Mavericks, Cavaliers and Knicks — all have young point guards and could pass on Morant.It’s conceivable that the Bulls could remain fourth in the draft after the lottery and still land Morant, widely seen as the draft’s second-best player. If not, the Bulls will hunt for a point guard via free agency.Should they get the right guy at point guard and if Porter’s glue-guy abilities keep supporting the young players’ growth, the Bulls could be a better team than expected quicker than expected.Big issue 2: This season was a mess at every level for the Bulls, and before they can proceed with any kind of successful rebuild, they must iron out their problems.The team’s front office seems to have a sense that things are heading in a very good direction, even if very few Bulls fans and outside observers agree with that sentiment. The Gar Forman-John Paxson combo has defended the team’s situation, and team COO Michael Reinsdorf told the Chicago Tribune he was “very happy” with Paxson’s performance.The team even gave coach Jim Boylen, who’s been embattled since he took over for Fred Hoiberg in early December and within days was accused by players of being too tough, another season on the sideline. Those looking for a complete upheaval of the Bulls won’t be getting one, not until next season at least.MORE: Markkanen shut down for remainder of seasonSo it behooves Boylen — a well-respected assistant coach who has worked with the likes of Gregg Popovich and Rudy Tomjanovich — to mend his fences in the locker room. He probably was too tough on players off the bat, especially considering Hoiberg’s soft approach. But he must let his players know there will be a certain level of work and attention to detail expected of them, and they’ll be held accountable. There has to be a happy medium there.As for the front office, the reputation around the league isn’t great, and the perception of cheapness is real — they pass out nickels like they’re manhole covers. The franchise also continually shoots itself in the foot with players, such as their treatment of Bobby Portis, who complained that he was told he would be part of the team’s long-term plan before he was traded. The unwillingness to give center Robin Lopez a buyout also didn’t help the reputation.The notion that free agents won’t sign in Chicago because of that isn’t quite right, though. If the money is there, players will take it. LaVine was happy to take Chicago’s $78 million last summer, after all, and other players will do likewise in that situation.Free-agent outlook: Filling out the bench would be nice, and the Bulls will start with Chandler Hutchinson and, most likely, Dunn as key bench pieces.But it’s all about point guards, assuming Morant is not in the cards. The free-agency options at point guard figure to be so-so for the Bulls, who will have cap space available but won’t attract the attention of top guys like Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker. Ricky Rubio of Utah might be an ideal fit, a good defender and passer who doesn’t need many shots. Look for the team to gauge his interest in coming to the Bulls.FREE AGENCY RUMORS: Could Irving prefer Nets over Knicks?Beyond him, there isn’t much that makes sense. The Bulls could pursue a restricted free agent like Boston’s Terry Rozier or Milwaukee’s Malcolm Brogdon, younger guys who would grow with the team. But they’d require some financial investment.Another option — bring a veteran placeholder on a deal friendly to the team, like Elfrid Payton, Darren Collison or Chicago native Patrick Beverley. Then you wait for a better opportunity to bring in the right fit.Oh, and there’s always (cough, cough) Derrick Rose.The young folks: This is where all the good news lies for the Bulls.Markkanen will be just 22 next month and, after starting the year with an elbow injury, took big strides over the course of the season. Over one 11-game stretch in February and March, Markkanen averaged 26.5 points and 12.6 rebounds and looked like a future All-Star. He needs a better in-the-paint game (41.8 percent of his shots were 3-pointers) but showed some progress in that regard with an increased free-throw rate.NBA MOCK DRAFT: Full first-round breakdownThe Bulls were also pleased with rookie Wendell Carter Jr., who will turn 20 this month. He was limited to 44 games, and his post-up game needs a lot of polish, but he showed himself to be a quality rim protector and rebounder. Chicago does not need much offense from Carter, but the Bulls certainly need a defensive anchor.The Bulls’ other rookie, Hutchinson, played 44 games and showed some promise as a big wing and combo forward. He could be the starting forward of the future, depending on whether the Bulls keep Porter long-term. Hutchinson will turn 23 this month.As for draft picks, the Bulls will be high in the lottery this year and have all their first-rounders intact going forward.Wait till next year: Crazy as it sounds given all the negative news that came out of Chicago this year, next season could see the team begin to turn a corner and get back to competing for the playoffs.Over a 22-game span from late January to mid-March, when the tanking kicked back in, the Bulls’ offense was actually No. 6 in the league, and they were eighth in true shooting percentage. This was, for a time, a fun bunch to watch.