Continuing the Battle Against Heroin, Opioid Epidemic
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Continuing the Battle Against Heroin, Opioid Epidemic…The heroin and opioid epidemic plaguing the Commonwealth has now been declared a statewide disaster by Gov. Tom Wolf. The designation comes on the heels of the General Assembly’s passage of at least a dozen state laws aimed at stopping abuse before it starts through prescription limits and better education outreach, as well as efforts to increase the availability of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone and improved treatment options. Goals to address the issue include enhancing coordination and data collection to bolster state and local response; improving tools for families, first responders and others to save lives; and speeding up and expanding access to treatment. More than 4,600 Pennsylvanians lost their lives to opioid overdose in 2016, and the 2017 statistics are expected to increase. The opioid crisis affects all groups of Pennsylvanians – not differentiating by race, region, religion, income or any other factor. Beyond the public health toll, opioids are straining prisons, the child welfare system and hospitals, and nationwide have cost more than $50 billion annually in treatment and lost productivity.
Milton Hershey Students Exhibit at the PA Farm Show…. I hope everyone interested had a chance to check out one of Pennsylvania’s leading industries on display at the 102nd Farm Show, which wrapped up Saturday. I made several visits last week, but I especially enjoyed my time talking with the students and instructors from Milton Hershey School’s Agricultural and Environmental Education (AEE) program. Members of the AEE Livestock Club exhibited beef cattle, dairy goats and sheep at the show this year. MHS is doing great things to get more young people excited about agriculture and to ready our next generation of farmers and agri-business leaders. Watch my video interviews below to learn more:

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Applications for 2018 Pennsylvania House Scholarships Now Available …High school seniors interested in receiving financial assistance to help pay for college can now apply for a Pennsylvania House of Representatives Scholarship. Each year the program awards four-year scholarships to two students preparing for post-secondary education. The scholarship is privately funded by individual and corporate donors; no tax or other public funds are used, and it is administered through the Foundation for Enhancing Communities. The program is open to graduating high school seniors who are Pennsylvania residents with plans to attend a Pennsylvania college, university or career school as a full-time student. Students must have attained a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average in high school in order to be eligible for a scholarship. The application is available through the foundation’s website at The application deadline is March 1, 2018.
Does Your Home Contain Radon?...An estimated 40 percent of Pennsylvania homes have higher levels of radon than national safety standards, due to the state’s geology. However, residents can perform a simple test to detect this gas, which is considered the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is an odorless, colorless radioactive gas that occurs naturally from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks and enters homes through cracks in the foundation or other openings. High levels of radon tend to be found in basements, but the gas can be found anywhere in the home. Winter is a good time to test for radon, because doors and windows are generally closed, providing more accurate results. Simple radon test kits are inexpensive and available at home improvement and hardware stores. January is national Radon Action Month. For more information on radon, testing and daily tips, click here.
Senior Master Sergeant (SMSgt) Penny Alexander is retiring from the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, 193rd Special Operations Medical Group, after 30 years of dedicated military service. During her distinguished military career, she helped to streamline the patient examination process at the 193rd Special Operations Wing which led to a 25 percent reduction in wait times. Her dedication, attention to detail, proficiency and expertise allowed the wing to surpass its 80 percent goal for medical readiness. SMSgt Alexander, we thank you for your service and wish you the best in retirement!       
I recently joined Gov. Tom Wolf at Dauphin County Technical School for a tour and discussion with students who are currently pursuing health care careers and receiving college credits from HACC while still in high school. Career and technical education programs are an important option for our students, and DCTech is doing a wonderful job preparing our next generation for the ever-changing and highly competitive work force!                                                 
Before the holidays, we celebrated Royalton Borough Mayor Judy Oxenford's retirement at the senior center's Christmas luncheon. I presented Judy with a House citation acknowledging her 28 years of service to Royalton. We will miss having Judy at the helm, but we know her love for the community and her energy aren't going anywhere. Thank you so much for your service, Judy!
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