Philadelphia, PA - Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) Secretary Dr. Latika Davis-Jones continued the agency’s statewide stakeholder engagement tour today in Philadelphia to hear top issues and concerns surrounding substance use disorder (SUD) treatment and prevention efforts in response to the opioid and overdose crises in the city. DDAP’s goal is to gather feedback that will help craft the agency’s plan for increased community and treatment provider engagement.
“It is vital that we hear directly from those who are providing direct services,” said Secretary Davis-Jones. “Prevention is the first line of defense in our efforts to combat these public health crises, and accessible and equitable treatment is the cornerstone of helping Pennsylvanians struggling with SUD – we need to know what’s working and what’s not working with both.”
Secretary Davis-Jones hosted a roundtable discussion on efforts specifically related to prevention and treatment services used to manage the overdose crisis in Philadelphia. She was joined by the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) Commissioner Dr. Jill Bowen and staff; Rep. Stephen Kinsey, Majority Chair of the House Human Services Committee; Sen. Art Haywood, Democratic Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee; and SUD prevention and treatment providers, including Merakey Germantown, Interim House, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, and Black Women’s Health Alliance.
“As chairman of the PA House Human Services Committee, ensuring we can prevent substance use disorder, but also help treat individuals already suffering it, is a top priority of mine,” Rep. Kinsey said. “I want to thank Secretary Davis-Jones for bringing this statewide tour to northwest Philadelphia. Getting to hear from folks on the front lines of substance use disorder will help her, DDAP and us as legislators, more effectively combat this crucial issue.”
DDAP recently awarded five organizations serving Philadelphia approximately $2 million in grants to establish or expand SUD services, community outreach and education to underrepresented communities struggling with the opioid overdose crisis. Funding for these grants is provided from the opioid settlement funding that was appropriated to DDAP by the General Assembly as part of the 2022-23 state budget.
DDAP is also prioritizing gaining stakeholder insight to assist the agency with its regulatory reform initiative. Specifically, the agency’s objectives for the regulatory reform initiative include:
· Organizing regulations in a way that makes sense for both providers and service participants reading them,
· Updating terminology to use current and consistent terms with plain language while avoiding stigmatizing language, and
· Ensuring regulations are specifically focused and designed to promote service participants’ safety, quality care, and positive outcomes and elevate the service experience.
Stakeholders of the tour include individuals in recovery and those with lived experience, service providers, active service recipients, community leaders, schools, corrections units, and more. The tour will seek to reach communities and voices less frequently heard.
Today’s event marks the ninth stop on DDAP’s statewide stakeholder engagement tour. Throughout the remainder of the tour, DDAP will seek to engage stakeholders on SUD issues related to:
· regulations and reform efforts
· data requirements and modernization needs
· health equity work and advancement
· treatment slot management
· improving departmental communications.
Learn more about the Shapiro Administration’s efforts in combating the overdose crisis pa.gov/opioids.
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