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of Pennsylvania

460 Melwood Ave Suite 205 Pittsburgh, PA 15213

March 29, 2017

Office of the Governor


508 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120

Dear Governor Wolf and Secretary of Health Murphy,

We are the Syringe Access Network of Pennsylvania, and we represent public health activists and
professionals from across the Commonwealth, working to promote effective strategies to address the
current opioid crisis and prevent the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C in Pennsylvania (PA) communities.

We are writing to ask you to exercise leadership and act quickly to push forward necessary policy
changes in the Commonwealth to remove the clause in Pennsylvanias Controlled Substances, Drugs,
Device, and Cosmetics Act that references syringes as drug paraphernalia, effectively prohibiting
expansion of proven effective syringe exchange programs (SEPs) in PA.

Expansion of syringe access programs is essential to prevent the continued transmission of HIV and
Hepatitis associated with the explosive opioid epidemic in PA.

Heroin injection has spread rapidly throughout rural communities, as seen by a 364 percent
increase in reported Hepatitis C cases in rural states in recent years.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, heroin was identified in nearly 55 percent of
the 3,383 drug-related overdose deaths in Pennsylvania in 2015.
Pennsylvania communities are at high risk for an HIV outbreak, comparable to the 2015
outbreak in Scott County, Indiana, which saw 188 cases of HIV in a county with a population of
less than 24,000 people. The current estimated financial liability for Scott County, Indiana,
resulting from the HIV and Hepatitis C epidemic approaches $500 million.
Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have operated successful syringe exchange models for over 20
years, and several additional programs have developed in other Pennsylvania communities.
Decriminalizing syringes removes obstacles to expanding access to sterile syringes across the
state through SEPs, pharmacies and other retail outlets. This is essential to ensure that rural
areas at high risk for HIV and Hepatitis outbreaks maintain access to sterile syringes, particularly
in locales where formal syringe exchange programs may not be easily established or accessed by
injection drug users.

PA is already in an opioid, HIV and Hepatitis epidemic. We need this legislation passed so we can
effectively act to prevent further expansion of this existing public health crisis.
of Pennsylvania
460 Melwood Ave Suite 205 Pittsburgh, PA 15213

We appreciate your help and ask that you please work with us to establish a meeting to discuss the
decriminalization of syringes by modifying the related clause in Pennsylvanias Controlled Substances,
Drugs, Device, and Cosmetics Act.

Thank you for your time and for considering our request.

Sincerely,

The Syringe Access Network of Pennsylvania (SANPA)

And the following signators:

Aaron Arnold, MPH Michael A. Ashburn, MD, MPH, MBA


Executive Director Professor
Prevention Point Pittsburgh Department of Anesthesiology & Critical
Care
University of Pennsylvania

Fredric M. Baurer, MD Alice Bell, LCSW


Medical Director Overdose Prevention Project Coordinator
Kirkbride Center Prevention Point Pittsburgh
President, Pennsylvania Society of Addiction Medicine

Jose A. Benitez, MSW, DrPh Jeanette Bowles, MSW, DrPHc


Executive Director Co-director Project SAFE
Prevention Point Philadelphia Community Health and Prevention
Drexel University Dornsife School of Public
Health

Scott Burris Neil A. Capretto, DO, DFASAM


Professor and Director Medical Director
Center for Public Health Law Research Gateway Rehabilitation Center
Temple University

Bill Cruice Rosalie Danchanko


Executive Director, PASNAP Executive Director
(for identification purposes only) The Johnstown Free Medical Clinic

Corey Davis Josh Dewaine, BS


Teaching Professor STOIC
Brody School of Medicine Citizens Advocacy Group to Address the
East Carolina University Opioid Epidemic in Washington County
of Pennsylvania
460 Melwood Ave Suite 205 Pittsburgh, PA 15213

David Givens, PhD(c) Phillip Hallen


Director President Emeritus
HIV Prevention and Care Project Falk Foundation (1930-2015)
Dept. of Infectious Disease and Microbiology Pittsburgh, PA
Graduate School of Public Health
University of Pittsburgh

Theresa Hrzic-Colimon Dick Keiser, PhD


AIDS Resource STOIC
Williamsport, PA Citizens Advocacy Group to Address the
Opioid Epidemic in Washington County

Christopher Kupchik Peter F. Luongo, PhD


Executive Director Executive Director
Caring Communities Institute for Research, Education and Training
in Addictions (IRETA)

Dianna Pagan Karen Plaven, PhD.


Reading Risk Reduction Director
CLEAR & The Oasis
Pittsburgh, PA

Joann Seigel, RPh Jonathan Seigel


STOIC STOIC
Citizens Advocacy Group to Address the Opioid Citizens Advocacy Group to Address the
Epidemic in Washington County Opioid Epidemic in Washington County

Jerry Stahler, PhD Kendra Viner, PhD, MPH


Professor Viral Hepatitis Program Manager
Temple University Philadelphia Department of Public Health
Board of Directors, Prevention Point Philadelphia

Karl E. Williams, MD, MPH Melinda Zipp


Chief Medical Examiner Lancaster, Harrisburg, and York Harm
Office of the Medical Examiner of Allegheny County, Reduction Projects
PA

Antoine Douaihy, MD Timothy J. Sowicz, PhD, CRNP


Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Senior Academic Director of
Addiction Medicine Services
Director of Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship
Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic
of Pennsylvania
460 Melwood Ave Suite 205 Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Nancy Bernstein, MPH Shannon Allen, MD


Pittsburgh, PA ABPN Certified Addiction Psychiatrist

Abby Peters, MS, LPC, CAADC Sharon Riddler, MD


Executive Director Division of Infectious Diseases
Addiction Recovery Systems of Lancaster University of Pittsburgh
Lancaster, PA

Ron Stall, PhD, MPH William Amador, DO


Professor 2nd year Family Medicine Resident
Graduate School of Public Health UPMC St. Margaret
University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA

Mary Hawk, PrPH, LSW Sean DeYoung, MSW, LCSW


Assistant Professor Chief Executive Officer
Senior Associate Director Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force
Evaluation Institute for Public Health
Graduate School of Public Health
University of Pittsburgh

Natalia Rudiak Adam Lake, MD, AAHIVS, CMQ


Councilmember, City of Pittsburgh
Chair, Finance and Law Committee
City Council District 4

Matthew Howie MD Pamela L. Gay, RN, BS, CFN, D-ABMDI


Executive Director York County Coroner
York Opioid Collaborative

Elizabeth Van Nostrand Christina Farmartino


Graduate School of Public Health Executive Director
University of Pittsburgh The Open Door, Inc.
Pittsburgh, PA

Bradley H. Levin, MD, FACC, FACS, FASAM, Colleen Milligan


DABAM, CMRO Lancaster LiveWell Volunteer
Medical Director
Elkton/Pine Heights Treatment Centers
ARS of Lancaster
Hanover Treatment Center

Janet Jones, MHS Marsha Zibalese-Crawford, PhD


Director of Specialized Services College of Public Health
Gaudenzia New Options/ Delta Community Temple University
Harrisburg, PA
of Pennsylvania
460 Melwood Ave Suite 205 Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Zachary F Meisel, MD, MPH, MSHP Terri Clark, MPH


Associate Professor Prevention Services Coordinator
Department of Emergency Medicine Action Wellness
Perelman School of Medicine Philadelphia, PA
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

Jake Goodman Dominique Viola


Executive Director Action Wellness
Opportunity Fund

Donald S. Burke, MD Gail Groves Scott, MPH


Dean Health Policy Fellow in Addiction Studies
Graduate School of Public Health Department of Health Policy and Public
University of Pittsburgh Health
Mayes College of Healthcare
Business & Policy
University of the Sciences
Philadelphia, PA

Dana Davis, PhD, MSW Stuart Fisk, CRNP, MSN


Assistant Professor Board of Directors
Youngstown State University Prevention Point Pittsburgh

Thuy Bui, MD Sarah Kawasaki, MD


Associate Professor of Medicine Assistant Professor
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Psychiatry and Internal Medicine
Penn State Hershey Medical Center

Dan Gilman Deborah Gross


Pittsburgh City Councilperson Pittsburgh City Councilperson

Suzanna Masartis Serge-Emile Simpson, MD


Executive Director Medical Toxicology Fellowship Director
Community Liver Alliance Department of Emergency Medicine
Albert Einstein Medical Center
Philadelphia, PA

Dyann Roth, Jeanmarie Zippo, RN


Chief Executive Officer Behavioral Health Specialist
Resources for Human Development, Inc. Action Wellness

Kevin Burns, LCSW Andrew B. Spiers, MSS


Executive Director Morris Home
Action Wellness Resources for Human Development
of Pennsylvania
460 Melwood Ave Suite 205 Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Laura I. Weinbaum Mary Gallagher


Vice President Public Affairs & Strategic Initiatives Pittsburgh, PA
Project HOME
Philadelphia, PA

Richard Hoffmaster, MD Jonathan Han, MD


Board-certified family physician & geriatrician Associate Program Director
Pittsburgh, PA UPMC St. Margaret Family Medicine
Residency Program