Harrisburg, PA - Today and tomorrow, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), in partnership with the Liberty Mid-Atlantic High Intensity Trafficking Area (LMA HIDTA) Program, is hosting more than 470 virtual participants for Pennsylvania’s third annual Psychostimulant Symposium focused on addressing the rise of stimulant usage across the commonwealth.
“Our primary concern is the health and safety of Pennsylvanians,” said DDAP Secretary Jen Smith. “We must be proactive in addressing these trends and work together to ensure individuals are receiving the appropriate services to treat their individual needs. This means educating first responders and law enforcement as to what they can expect when they are called to the scene, ensuring treatment providers and health care professionals can provide necessary care, and educating community stakeholders on proven prevention efforts. Together, we must all do our part.”
The no-cost, two-day symposium brings together members of law enforcement, criminal justice professionals, health care providers, emergency personnel, drug and alcohol providers, and other stakeholders. Attendees are hearing from national partnerships and leading experts in the drug and alcohol field on topics such as public safety, using data to forecast trends, intervention and treatment, and prevention and education.
Pennsylvania’s focused efforts to battle the addiction epidemic led to the discovery of trends related to the supply and use of prescription and illicit psychostimulants. There are many differences between opioid use disorder and methamphetamine and cocaine use disorder, which requires knowledge of alternative methods to treat and support those who overdose.
“Along with opioids, stimulant drugs are increasingly observed in persons experiencing drug overdoses and among those seeking substance use disorder treatment in Pennsylvania,” said LMA HIDTA Executive Director Jeremiah Daley. “This amplifies the need for better understanding of these substances’ effects on persons who use them and how public safety, public health, and medical and behavioral health treatment and prevention organizations and professionals can best avert the negative health and societal effects they pose.”
In September 2020, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) began allowing states to utilize federal grants to address stimulant use disorder in addition to opioid use disorder. Projects utilizing these funds in Pennsylvania to address stimulant use disorder include veteran supports, expansion of MAT in correctional facilities, treatment of under/uninsured Pennsylvanians, housing support, case management, and pregnancy support services.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that to make effective change in our communities it takes partnerships and dedication from the national, state, and local level,” said Smith. “The number of participants for our 3rd Annual Symposium shows just how important this topic is and how committed our stakeholders are to support our fellow Pennsylvanians.”
DDAP announced its continued efforts to combat substance use disorder (SUD) and overdose deaths, including the rise in stimulant and polysubstance use by establishing the Interagency Substance Use Response Team. To strengthen this effort, DDAP is conducting a SUD Listening Tour meeting with local leaders, treatment providers, members of the recovery community, and other stakeholders to discuss SUD trends at the local level and establish long-term responses to the crisis.
Individuals seeking recovery resources for themselves or a loved one can call the toll-free PA Get Help Now helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). A live chat option is also available online or via text message at 717-216-0905 for those seeking help who may not be comfortable speaking to a helpline operator.
For more information about Pennsylvania’s Psychostimulant Symposium, visit ddap.pa.gov.
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