Addressing the Opioid Crisis: A Deep Dive into Pennsylvania’s Strategy

Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) Secretary Dr. Latika Davis-JonesCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

MONROE COUNTY, PA — In the pursuit of enhancing services for substance use disorder (SUD), Pennsylvania’s Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) Secretary, Dr. Latika Davis-Jones, has been touring Carbon, Monroe and Pike counties. This initiative is a part of the ongoing statewide stakeholder engagement tour and the Shapiro Administration’s commitment to a full spectrum of local SUD supports.

Dr. Davis-Jones emphasized the importance of comprehensive strategies in tackling the opioid and overdose crises. She mentioned, “effective, evidence-based strategies in SUD prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery are integral to combating this health crisis.”

During her tour, Dr. Davis-Jones visited “Justin’s House” for Men, Pennsylvania’s first licensed recovery house. The establishment provides stable housing and supportive services to men in the early stages of recovery. Emphasizing on the importance of providing safe spaces for recovery, Executive Director Kenneth Ramirez stated, “Recovery house licensure is vital. Treatment providers, family members, and the community need to be reassured that clients aren’t being placed in dangerous situations by being referred to unlicensed and unregulated recovery homes.”

As per the current data, almost 350 DDAP-licensed recovery houses are functional across Pennsylvania. These houses ensure a network of safe drug and alcohol recovery homes for individuals with SUD. Moreover, Dr. Davis-Jones affirms, “The Shapiro Administration is dedicated to ensuring that Pennsylvanians are supported through all phases of their recovery journey.”

The tour also included a visit to Pyramid Healthcare Stroudsburg Outpatient Treatment Center. Here she interacted with patients and staff and participated in an interactive music therapy group session designed to aid individuals’ treatment journey.

A roundtable discussion was also held to understand the remarkable efforts of community members, law enforcement, and local treatment providers to address this crisis.

Jamie Drake, Executive Director of the Carbon-Monroe-Pike Drug & Alcohol Commission expressed, “Together, we are working to reduce stigma and make the community aware of the local issues, and that recovery matters in Carbon, Monroe, and Pike counties”.

The unyielding scourge of substance abuse remains a severe challenge to public health. Yet, with comprehensive efforts in place, Pennsylvania shows promise in its fight against SUD.

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