By Anna Schwartz
Anna Schwartz is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania.
On January 10th, Governor Tom Wolf declared the opioid crisis a statewide emergency. He spoke about the loss of too many lives. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania has the fourth highest rate of death due to drug overdose in the country: 37.9 out of every 100,000 people.  Yet Wolf reminded citizens in his speech that “those who we have lost are not just numbers.” 
The average person hospitalized for abusing prescription drugs is 54 years old. Admissions for these opioid overdoses have increased four times over between 2010 and 2017 and cost about $27 million in 2016 to Pennsylvania taxpayers.  Even further, most overdose patients are treated in emergency rooms and released without admission; ER data is not included in the analysis of overdose statistics.