Opioid addiction dominates state budget hearing

Written by Radio Pennsylvania | Mar 12, 2016 10:34 AM

(Harrisburg) -- Top state health officials talked about the opioid addiction crisis during testimony before the House Appropriations Committee this past week. 

Committee members commended the officials for their response to the crisis, especially the move to equip first responders with the drug Naloxone.

Gary Tennis who heads the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs says it's only the first step.

"Once we get the overdose reversed with Naloxone, and it's an unpleasant experience for the person, but once the life is saved we've got to engage them in the emergency departments and get them from there to treatment," he said.

Tennis says those who are referred to treatment face additional hurdles, including a shortage of beds at detox centers.

The committee also heard from state Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy and Physican General Dr. Rachel Levine. 

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