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Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Discusses Efforts to Decrease Overdose Deaths in Mifflin, Juniata and Huntingdon Counties

06/28/2022

Lewistown, PA  -Today, Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) Secretary Jen Smith joined the Juniata Valley Tri-County Drug & Alcohol Abuse Commission, substance use disorder treatment providers and prevention specialists, health care providers, and other stakeholders for a roundtable discussion on local efforts to manage the addiction crisis.

“There’s no better way to learn what the local landscape of the addiction crisis is than to physically go into the community and meet with the boots-on-the-ground workers who are responding to it every day,” said Secretary Smith. “Not only does substance use disorder look different in different parts of the state it also varies across this tri-county area. This is an opportunity to hear directly from folks in this region of the state regarding what successes and challenges they’re currently experiencing and use that information to guide our own state plan moving forward.”

This roundtable is part of DDAP’s Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Listening Tour designed to meet with local leaders, SUD treatment providers, members of the recovery community, and other stakeholders to discuss SUD trends at the local level. This tour is in response to the increase in overdose deaths and polysubstance use throughout the commonwealth. To date, DDAP has held eight listening sessions with several counties throughout Pennsylvania.

The Juniata Valley Tri-County Drug & Alcohol Abuse Commission is the single county authority (SCA) of drug and alcohol services in Huntingdon, Juniata and Mifflin counties. The commission provides funding for drug and alcohol treatment for adults and adolescents in this tri-county area who do not have insurance or are unable to pay for services on their own, and contracts with facilities around the state of Pennsylvania to provide a full continuum of care, including outpatient counseling, intensive outpatient counseling, partial hospitalization, inpatient hospital-based detoxification and rehabilitation, and other services.

“I want to thank Secretary Smith for visiting Huntingdon, Mifflin and Juniata counties today. It is important for our community leaders to understand the impact addiction has on our communities and the steps we as an SCA are taking to combat addiction,” said Michael Hannon, Juniata Valley Tri-County Drug & Alcohol Abuse Commission Executive Director. “Rural communities such as ours face unique challenges in this ongoing battle with addiction and overdoses, and our commission is committed to working with DDAP, county officials and contracted providers to continue providing the best possible options for recovery.”

Since Governor Tom Wolf took office, DDAP has placed a heavy focus on reducing stigma, intensifying primary prevention efforts, strengthening Pennsylvania’s drug and alcohol treatment system, and empowering sustained recovery by:

  • Implementing Life Unites Us, the first-of-its-kind, evidence-based stigma reduction campaign which reached nearly four million Pennsylvanians in year one,
  • Collecting more than 1 million pounds of prescription medication across more than 889 take-back boxes in all 67 Pennsylvania counties,
  • Launching Pennsylvania’s Get Help Now Hotline, which has connected an average of 21 Pennsylvanians per day directly to substance use disorder treatment,
  • Expanding access to naloxone in communities through Pennsylvania’s standing order, free distribution days, and mail-order naloxone program,
  • Implementing Warm Handoff Programs in 95 percent of Pennsylvania’s hospitals and referring more than 27,000 individuals to SUD treatment through those programs,
  • Increasing access to medication-assisted treatment and treatment for uninsured and underinsured individuals with SUD,
  • Awarding over $14 million in federal funding to recovery community organizations, and
  • Expanding a new, free, and confidential SUD treatment locator resource, Addiction Treatment Locator, Assessment, and Standards Platform (ATLAS) to Pennsylvania.

DDAP announced its continued efforts to combat SUD and overdose deaths, including the rise in stimulant and polysubstance use. By establishing the Interagency Substance Use Response Team, the Wolf Administration is restructuring efforts to address all substance use disorders, by bringing together key players to resolve policy, procedural, and funding matters in relation to the addiction crisis across the commonwealth.

To learn more about DDAP’s efforts in combating the addiction crisis, visit ddap.pa.gov.

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephany Dugan - ra-dapressoffice@pa.gov

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