Wilkes Barre, PA - Department of Drug and Alcohol officials today toured Geisinger Clinic, a Pennsylvania Coordinated Medication Assisted Treatment (Pac-MAT) program, as part of Stop Overdoses in PA: Get Help Now Week, a statewide initiative to get the overdose reversal medication naloxone to Pennsylvanians and get help for residents suffering from the disease of opioid-use disorder.
“The work of Geisinger Clinic’s Pac-MAT is a perfect example of how making naloxone easily accessible can lead to individuals accessing treatment and ultimately recovery,” said DDAP Secretary Jen Smith. “Immediately following an overdose is a critical time for an individual battling substance use disorder. By expanding access to treatment, we are much more likely to get an individual the services they need and deserve. I want to commend Geisinger for their innovative approaches to combatting the opioid crisis and look forward to continuing to partner with them to provide treatment options in rural Pennsylvania communities.”
Geisinger Clinic’s Pac-MAT is one of eight locations across the state using a hub-and-spoke network of health care providers to provide Medication-Assisted Treatment through a warm handoff pathway ensuring people are getting into treatment after being admitted to the emergency room following an overdose. Since the inception of the program in 2017, the clinic has seen more than 1,300 patients with 44 percent of those patients still engaged in treatment six months prior to entering the program.
As part of Stop Overdoses in PA: Get Help Now Week, residents will be able to go to a state health center or their local pharmacy to get the overdose reversal medication naloxone. This medication reverses the effects of an opioid overdose and gives the patient a chance at recovery.
“We cannot get someone into treatment if they are dead,” Governor Wolf said. “Naloxone saves lives and we should all carry it because you never know when you will get the chance to help someone. This year alone, emergency medical services have saved more than 9,000 Pennsylvanians using naloxone and transported 92 percent of them to the hospital for treatment.”
“Treatment works and recovery is possible,” Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Jennifer Smith said. “If you, or someone in your life, are suffering from the disease of opioid-use disorder there is help. Whether you have insurance, are uninsured, or underinsured individuals can call the Pennsylvania Get Help Now Hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) to enter treatment or talk to someone about available resources in their community.”
Since Governor Wolf first signed a heroin and opioid disaster declaration in January, 16 state agencies have continuously worked to fight the opioid epidemic and have made significant progress to help individuals and families dealing with this crisis. Some accomplishments include waiving birth certificate fees for individuals seeking treatment, using federal Medicaid funding in treatment facilities to provide more than 12,000 individuals access to medically necessary treatment, and providing career services to people who have been impacted by the opioid epidemic and plan to return to work.
For more information on Pennsylvania’s response to the opioid crisis visit www.pa.gov/opioids.