Local group hopes for funds

In the wake of Gov. Tom Wolf’s state of emergency declaration in regards to the heroin and opioid epidemic, Project Bald Eagle likely won’t be affected in a tangible way.

However Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, chairwoman of the board of directors and Pennsylvania College of Technology president, expects the attention Wolf has drawn to the issue to be beneficial.

“I think it’s very good for Project Bald Eagle,” she said. “We have enjoyed working with the governor’s office on this epidemic in our community. His drawing attention to it in this manner certainly will raise a profile, and I think that can only be good for us.”

Issues Project Bald Eagle and similar groups have faced, such as drug take-backs for unused and unneeded prescriptions will be addressed by the declaration. The declaration also may lead to the expansion of the prescription drug monitoring program, which has decreased opioid prescriptions by about 12 percent, according to Dr. Rachel Levine, acting secretary of health for the commonwealth.

Multiple other issues may be addressed with the declaration, which leads to more attention drawn to the epidemic and more potential for funding, Gilmour said. Lycoming County Commissioner Tony Mussare, a member of Project Bald Eagle’s board of directors, was in agreement.

“His declaration today may be beneficial to future funding for Project Bald Eagle,” he said.

“It’s unfortunate this has to happen at this time, but it’s good to raise awareness of the profile of needs across the commonwealth,” Gilmour said. “We have good connections with the state that we feel we’ll be able to capitalize on in the treatment of this epidemic. Project Bald Eagle will clearly be monitoring this and will continue to work with our community.”