State to Provide Money to PA Counties to Combat Heroin and Opioid Abuse

As you may have heard, timing for implementation of the state’s controlled substances database is uncertain. However, there is some good news in the fight against drug abuse. The state Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) recently announced that it is seeking proposals from county drug and alcohol agencies to address Pennsylvania’s heroin and opioid overdose epidemic.

According to the DDAP news release, the proposal asks counties to develop and implement strategies that will provide individuals the full continuum of care while facilitating their application for funding through Medicaid or private insurance. It also calls for the participating county to track the outcomes of opioid addicted individuals who are referred into treatment.

Additional proposal options include developing or enhancing current methods to access funding for treatment services, use of medications as companions to clinically appropriate treatment, ensuring overdose survivors are referred to treatment, and utilizing evidence-based prevention programs.

“This funding opportunity will improve intervention strategies, increase the use of best practices and increase access to treatment through the local counties,” said DDAP Acting Secretary Gary Tennis.

“Many counties are already striving towards these important initiatives and are ready to work with Pennsylvania to ensure that the right level of treatment is provided with sufficient lengths of stay to get good outcomes.”

Gov. Wolf’s 2015-2016 state budget proposal directs $5 million toward funding this initiative.

DDAP’s press releases said that monies would be distributed to local counties based on the following criteria:

  • Commit at least 80 percent of the total grant award to clinically appropriate treatment and supportive medication expenses
  • Spend no more than 20 percent of the total grant award for outreach, education, training, prevention, and case management
  • Spend no more than 20 percent of the total grant award for data collection, performance measurement, performance assessment, and publication of outcomes data

This is just one of many state initiatives aimed at combatting the opioid and heroin abuse crisis in Pennsylvania. Others include the state’s controlled substances database, which the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) advocated for; a law supported by PAMED that expanded access to naloxone, a life-saving, opioid-reversal drug; and drug take-back programs.

PAMED has several resources available for physicians, including:

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