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Pennsylvania Expands Directory to Simplify Access to Addiction Services

Pennsylvania officials have announced an expansion of the state’s directory aimed at helping residents find addiction services nearby. This initiative is part of a multi-year effort to simplify the process of locating licensed providers for drug and alcohol-related issues.

The Treatment Atlas, which has been under development since 2021, now includes information for approximately 600 licensed treatment facilities in Pennsylvania. This centralizes data for 81% of all licensed centers statewide. The initiative has received around 7,000 assessments filed through the Treatment Atlas, as reported by the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP).

In a press release, DDAP Secretary Latika Davis-Jones expressed satisfaction with the results of the latest enrollment period, stating that the increased number of providers in the directory would offer more options for finding the right fit in substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. The Treatment Atlas was built by the anti-addiction nonprofit organization Shatterproof, using $1.1 million from a federal block grant designated for substance abuse prevention and treatment, according to a DDAP contract.

The Treatment Atlas provides information on various types of treatment facilities, including inpatient, residential, outpatient, and intensive outpatient centers. Users can sort these centers based on location, types of services offered, payment options, accepted insurers, and other relevant factors. Additionally, individuals seeking addiction treatment can take an assessment to narrow down the appropriate type of care they may require.

Simultaneously, the Pennsylvania General Assembly is considering expanding medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in county jails. House Bill 1515, which recently passed with strong bipartisan support in the House (199-4), aims to broaden the range of drugs that jails can utilize to treat addiction. While the bill does not mandate the use of MAT in county jails, it seeks to provide more options for effective addiction treatment within the correctional system.

Representative Maureen Madden, a Democrat who sponsored HB1515, argued that expanding treatment for inmates could not only benefit the incarcerated individuals but also improve the overall prison system. She emphasized the importance of rehabilitating individuals to help them successfully reintegrate into society, thus saving money in the long run by reducing recidivism rates.

In 2015, Pennsylvania passed Act 80, which established the Nonnarcotic Medication Assisted Substance Abuse Treatment Grant for county jails. This allowed pilot programs for Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) to be implemented, testing their effectiveness in helping inmates overcome addiction and progress in their recovery. Representative Craig Williams, a Republican, cited research showing that inmates who participated in these programs had a 75% lower likelihood of dying from an overdose. He expressed his support for MAT expansion, recounting his own interactions with inmates undergoing treatment and their desire to recover.

HB1515 also mandates that the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency submit a report on the effectiveness of MAT in county jails. Representative Madden highlighted the General Assembly’s keen interest in MAT and other addiction-related programs and funding, including the expenditures from the Opioid Misuse and Addiction Abatement Trust.

To access treatment or recovery resources, Pennsylvanians can utilize the toll-free PA Get Help Now helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). This confidential 24-hour helpline can provide assistance in connecting callers with funding to cover treatment costs.

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