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October 2, 2018 Public Hearing on the State of Addiction in Pennsylvania, State Capitol Building, Harrisburg, PA

To learn and share more information about the disease of addiction, and the treatment options that are available to combat heroin and opioid addiction, including medication assisted treatment, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania held its 15th public hearing on Tuesday, October 2 at the State Capitol Building in Harrisburg.

Center Board Chairman Senator Gene Yaw presided over the hearing, and was joined by Center Board Vice Chairman Rep. Garth Everett, Center Board Members Steve Brame, Dr. Lawrence Feick, and Darrin Youker, and Center Director Barry Denk.

Click here for a copy of the testimony and here for a link to the hearing video.

Center Board Chairman Senator Gene Yaw (fourth from left) is joined by Center Board Members (from left) Steve Brame, Dr. Lawrence Feick, Center Director Barry Denk, Board Vice Chairman Rep. Garth Everett, and Darrin Youker.
Center Board Chairman Senator Gene Yaw (fourth from left) is joined by Center Board Members (from left) Steve Brame, Dr. Lawrence Feick, Center Director Barry Denk, Board Vice Chairman Rep. Garth Everett, and Darrin Youker.

Dr. Bradley Miller of UPMC Susquehanna said that addiction is a physiological, chronic disease of the brain, and not something that can be wished away. He said there are permanent changes to a brain on addictive substances, and they are profound in opioid addiction.
Dr. Bradley Miller of UPMC Susquehanna said that addiction is a physiological, chronic disease of the brain, and not something that can be wished away. He said there are permanent changes to a brain on addictive substances, and they are profound in opioid addiction.
Dr. Rachel Levine, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Pennsylvania Physician General, described the initiatives the state has implemented to address the opioid epidemic, including the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, prescribing guidelines, the standing order for Naloxone, and the warm hand off. She also discussed the potential of medical marijuana to be used as one more tool in the state’s arsenal for treating opioid dependency.
Dr. Rachel Levine, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Pennsylvania Physician General, described the initiatives the state has implemented to address the opioid epidemic, including the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, prescribing guidelines, the standing order for Naloxone, and the warm hand off. She also discussed the potential of medical marijuana to be used as one more tool in the state’s arsenal for treating opioid dependency.

Dr. William Santoro, Public Policy Chair, (right) and Dr. Frederic Baurer, President, Pennsylvania Society of Addiction Medicine, told the panel that addiction is not a moral failing or a choice. Both stressed that medication assisted treatment, which can be tailored to individuals, gives patients suffering from opioid addiction a real chance to overcome this deadly disease.
Dr. William Santoro, Public Policy Chair, (right) and Dr. Frederic Baurer, President, Pennsylvania Society of Addiction Medicine, told the panel that addiction is not a moral failing or a choice. Both stressed that medication assisted treatment, which can be tailored to individuals, gives patients suffering from opioid addiction a real chance to overcome this deadly disease.
At the close of the hearing, Sen. Yaw thanked all of the testifiers and attendees for their participation.
At the close of the hearing, Sen. Yaw thanked all of the testifiers and attendees for their participation.

 


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2018

“State of Addiction” Public Hearing Set for October 2

Agenda (PDF)

HARRISBURG – The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, chaired by State Senator Gene Yaw, will hold a public hearing at the State Capitol Building on Tuesday, October 2, on the heroin/opioid epidemic to gather testimony on the disease of addiction. 

“Every day in Pennsylvania, 15 people die from a drug overdose. And every day across the U.S., 170 people die from a drug overdose,” said Sen. Yaw. “Since the Center’s first group of public hearings back in 2014, we’ve been hearing from health care and treatment professionals that addiction is a chronic disease. A disease that should be treated comprehensively and individually.

“The Center’s board remains committed to raising awareness about the heroin epidemic, and it is holding this hearing to learn and share more information about the disease of addiction, and the treatment options that are available to combat addiction, including medication assisted treatment.”

Sen. Yaw will preside over the public hearing and will be joined by fellow Center Board Members and members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Presenters are Dr. Rachel Levine, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Pennsylvania Physician General; Dr. Bradley Miller of UPMC Susquehanna; and Dr. William Santoro, Public Policy Chair, and Dr. Frederic Baurer, President, Pennsylvania Society of Addiction Medicine.

“Over the past few years, our state and nation have taken positive steps to address this epidemic,” Sen. Yaw said. “In July, the administration announced the second renewal of the 90-day opioid disaster declaration, and the federal government awarded Pennsylvania nearly $5 million in funding from the National Health Emergency (NHE) Dislocated Worker Demonstration Grant. However, we need to remain focused on fighting this epidemic, as it continues to devastate our rural and urban communities.”

The public hearing will be held in the Senate Majority Caucus Room, Room 156, Main Capitol Building, 501 N. Third St., Harrisburg, PA, 17120, and will begin at 10 a.m.

# # #

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania is a bipartisan, bicameral legislative agency that serves as a resource for rural policy within the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The Center works with the legislature, educators, state and federal executive branch agencies, and national, statewide, regional and local organizations to maximize resources and strategies that can better serve Pennsylvania's nearly 3.4 million rural residents.

CONTACT:
Barry Denk, Director
The Center for Rural Pennsylvania
(717) 787-9555



 

August 15, 2018 Public Hearing on the State of Addiction in Pennsylvania, Cambria County Courthouse, Ebensburg, PA

To learn how local communities are continuing their work in combating heroin and opioid addiction, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania held its 14th public hearing on Wednesday, August 15 at the Cambria County Courthouse in Ebensburg. Center Board Chairman Senator Gene Yaw welcomed board members and attendees to the hearing, which was hosted by Senator Wayne Langerholc. The hearing focused on Medication Assisted Treatment services, Pennsylvania drug courts, and reemployment opportunities for people with addiction. Click here for a copy of the testimony and here for a link to the hearing video.

Center Board Chairman Senator Gene Yaw (top center), is joined by (from top left) Sen. John Eichelberger, Dr. Nancy Falvo, Center Board Secretary, Senator Wayne Langerholc, Barry Denk, Center Director, and Rep. Frank Burns, and from bottom left, Darrin Youker, Center Board Member, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania President Dr. Michael Driscoll, Center Board Member.
Center Board Chairman Senator Gene Yaw (top center), is joined by (from top left) Sen. John Eichelberger, Dr. Nancy Falvo, Center Board Secretary,
Senator Wayne Langerholc, Barry Denk, Center Director, and Rep. Frank Burns, and from bottom left, Darrin Youker, Center Board Member,
and Indiana University of Pennsylvania President Dr. Michael Driscoll, Center Board Member.

Dr. Falvo, Sen. Langerholc, Sen. Yaw and Mr. Denk.
Dr. Falvo, Sen. Langerholc, Sen. Yaw and Mr. Denk.
Cambria County Drug Coalition members Kate Porter, Prevention Program Specialist/Communities that Care Mobilizer (left), Tracy Selak, Cambria Co. Acting Drug and Alcohol Program Administrator, and Mr. Arnold Bernard, Cambria Co. Assistant DA.
Cambria County Drug Coalition members Kate Porter, Prevention Program Specialist/Communities that Care Mobilizer (left), Tracy Selak, Cambria Co. Acting Drug and Alcohol Program Administrator, and Mr. Arnold Bernard, Cambria Co. Assistant DA.

Amanda Cope of Positive Recovery Solutions discussed medication assisted treatment and the success of mobile vivitrol clinics serving rural counties.
Amanda Cope of Positive Recovery Solutions discussed medication assisted treatment and the success of mobile vivitrol clinics serving rural counties.
James McMonagle, Luzerne County Assistant DA, told the panel of the success of the Luzerne County drug treatment court.
James McMonagle, Luzerne County Assistant DA, told the panel of the success of the Luzerne County drug treatment court.

(Left to right) Susan Whisler, Director of Workforce Development at Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development, Ronald Aldom, Executive Director of Somerset County Chamber of Commerce, Jeffrey Dick, Site Administrator with the PA Department of Labor and Industry/Career Link, and Brooke McKenzie, Director of Twin Lakes Center and Hospice, discussed the importance of reemployment opportunities for people in recovery.
(Left to right) Susan Whisler, Director of Workforce Development at Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development, Ronald Aldom, Executive Director of Somerset County Chamber of Commerce, Jeffrey Dick, Site Administrator with the PA Department of Labor and Industry/Career Link, and Brooke McKenzie, Director of Twin Lakes Center and Hospice, discussed the importance of reemployment opportunities for people in recovery.
At the close of the hearing, Sen. Yaw thanked all of the testifiers and attendees for their participation, and he thanked Sen. Langerholc for hosting the hearing.
At the close of the hearing, Sen. Yaw thanked all of the testifiers and attendees for their participation, and he thanked Sen. Langerholc for hosting the hearing.

 


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 10, 2018

“State of Addiction” Public Hearing Set for August 15

Agenda (PDF)

HARRISBURG – The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, chaired by State Senator Gene Yaw, will hold a public hearing in Ebensburg on Wednesday, August 15 to gather more information on Medication Assisted Treatment services, Pennsylvania drug courts, and reemployment opportunities for people battling addiction to heroin and opioids. 

Senator Yaw will preside over the hearing and will be joined by fellow Center Board Members Dr. Nancy Falvo of Clarion University, Dr. Michael Driscoll, President of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Mr. Darrin Youker of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. State Senator Wayne Langerholc will host the hearing.

Presenters are Tracy Selak, Cambria County Human Services Administrator; Cambria County Assistant District Attorney Arnold Bernard Jr.; Kate Porter, Cambria County Drug Coalition Prevention Program Specialist/Communities that Care Mobilizer; Amanda Cope, Chief Operating Officer at Positive Recovery Solutions; Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney and Immediate Past President of the Pennsylvania Association of Drug Court Professionals James McMonagle; Susan Whisler, Director of Workforce Development at Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission; Ronald Aldom, Executive Director of Somerset County Chamber of Commerce; Jeffrey Dick, Site Administrator at the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry’s Bureau of Workforce Partnership and Operations; and Brooke McKenzie, Director of the Twin Lakes Center and Hospice.

“From our previous hearings, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania learned how difficult it is for people with substance use disorder to get back to work,” said Senator Yaw. “We also heard about the many treatment options for individuals that can help them in recovery. At this hearing, we want to learn more about the local programs that help with reemployment, the success of county drug courts, and the treatment programs that help people recover from their addiction and be successful in their recovery.”

In 2014, the Center held its first public hearing on the heroin and opioid crisis affecting the Commonwealth. Since then, it has held more than a dozen hearings, which have helped to create statewide awareness of the crisis, and to encourage numerous legislative and administrative initiatives to combat a disease that now claims more lives each year than those lost to traffic accidents.

“Over the past few years, our state and nation have taken positive steps to address this epidemic,” Yaw said. “The most recent being nearly $5 million in funding from the National Health Emergency (NHE) Dislocated Worker Demonstration Grant for reemployment services for individuals affected by the opioid epidemic. However, we need to remain focused on fighting this epidemic, as it continues to devastate our rural and urban communities.”

The public hearing will be held at the Cambria County Courthouse, Courtroom 1, 200 South Center St., Ebensburg, PA 15931, and will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Members of the public and media are invited to attend. 

# # #

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania is a bipartisan, bicameral legislative agency that serves as a resource for rural policy within the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The Center works with the legislature, educators, state and federal executive branch agencies, and national, statewide, regional and local organizations to maximize resources and strategies that can better serve Pennsylvania's nearly 3.4 million rural residents.

CONTACT:
Barry Denk, Director
Center for Rural Pennsylvania
(717) 787-9555