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04/09/2019

Wolf Administration Receives Innovation Award for Warm Hand-off Overdose Survivor Program

Harrisburg, PA - Today, Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) received an Innovation Now Award from the Addiction Policy Forum for Pennsylvania’s work in implementing and executing warm hand-off protocols throughout the commonwealth. The award ceremony was held at the Colonial Golf and Tennis Club in Harrisburg.

“I am honored to accept this award on behalf of the Wolf Administration and each commonwealth Single County Authority (SCAs), local treatment providers, and hospitals who have all worked toward the same common goal – ensuring our loved ones have access to necessary treatment,” said DDAP Secretary Jen Smith. “The department is proud of each county’s warm hand-off successes and the collaboration between state and local community members to position Pennsylvania as a leader in response to the opioid epidemic. There is still much work to be done but together, as neighbors, we will continue to move Pennsylvania forward through this crisis.”

Addiction Policy Forum is a nationwide nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating addiction as a major health problem headquartered in Washington, D.C. With today’s award, the Forum’s new report, ‘Pennsylvania Innovations to Address Addiction: Ten Innovative Solutions that are Transforming Addiction Prevention, Treatment and Recovery,’ was released highlighting projects throughout the commonwealth that are changing the drug and alcohol treatment and recovery landscape.

Today, warm hand-off programs at various levels of implementation exist around the commonwealth. Since January 2017, more than 5,000 individuals have been directly referred to treatment as part of the warm hand-off concept. Counties with successful implementations are seeing a success rate of 90 percent of overdose survivors directly admitted into drug and alcohol treatment following an overdose. Strengthening warm hand-off processes remains a priority for the administration, currently convening regional Warm Hand-off Summits to address implementation roadblocks and foster partnerships between local community stakeholders.

In February 2017, the departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs and Health, and Pennsylvania chapter of the College of Emergency Physicians released a clinical pathway designed to create an easy transition from care for an opioid overdose to treatment for an opioid use disorder. County drug and alcohol authorities are now required to establish a warm hand-off policy as part of the 2015-2020 grant agreement between DDAP and the SCAs.

For more information on the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs and warm hand-off visit www.ddap.pa.gov.

For more information on Addiction Policy Forum visit www.addictionpolicy.org.

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