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Wolf Administration Visits Center for Excellence for STOP OVERDOSES IN PA: GET HELP NOW WEEK

Williamsport, PA - Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller today visited CleanSlate’s Williamsport Center, a Center of Excellence (COE), 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.

“As the Wolf Administration works to address the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic, we must always remember the people at the center of this crisis,” Secretary Miller said. “Addiction is a disease and connecting people to treatment that addresses both their opioid-use disorder as well as physical and behavioral health needs is critical. CleanSlate’s COE helps thousands of vulnerable Pennsylvanians fully address these concerns and begin a path towards recovery.”

CleanSlate’s Williamsport Center joined the COE program in May 2017, and is one of seven facilities operated across the commonwealth by CleanSlate. Three of CleanSlate’s locations also serve as COEs, and combined are serving over 540 patients a month. Since becoming a COE, CleanSlate reports that patients engaged in COE services are two times more likely to be engaged in treatment one year later.

The 45 COEs across the commonwealth provide treatment that is team-based and whole-person focused, with a goal of integrating substance use disorder treatment, behavioral health, and primary care for Medicaid enrollees. Prior to these centers, as few as 48 percent of Medicaid patients diagnosed with opioid use disorder were receiving treatment. Of those, only 33 percent remained engaged in treatment for more than 30 days. Today, more than 70 percent receive treatment after being diagnosed with an opioid-use disorder and 62 percent remain in treatment for more than 30 days.

COEs provide treatment that is team-based and whole-person focused, with a goal of integrating behavioral health and primary care. Additionally, the centers’ care managers work to keep people with OUD engaged in treatment, including coordinating follow-up care and community supports.

COEs work as a hub-and-spoke network, with the designated center serving as the hub. The spokes can include primary care practices, the criminal justice system, emergency departments, social services providers, other treatment providers, and other referral sources.

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 Tom 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.”

“Whether a family member or a neighbor, we all know someone who has been impacted by the opioid epidemic. Parents are losing children and children are losing parents every day,” said Secretary Miller. “We are tackling this epidemic from a number of angles, and expanding access to Naloxone is one of the ways. We will continue to collaborate and work towards the goal of saving more lives, and expanding access to treatment and services.”

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Colin Day - 717-425-7606

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