Study would look at availability of drug addiction treatment

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Mar 22, 2016 9:53 AM

(Harrisburg) -- Experts estimate only one in eight people in Pennsylvania who need potentially life-saving drug addiction treatment can actually get it.

While the numbers are better than the national average, a state senator wants to study how to increase availability.

The drug addiction crisis has killed thousands of people in Pennsylvania in the last few years.

But, effective treatment may have saved some of those lives.

Democratic Senator Judy Schwank of Berks County is sponsoring a resolution to start a study on the treatment options in the state.

"And we'll look at perhaps how some facilities are offering treatment that perhaps is not as effective. I think our preference would be to higlight those that do offer different treatment options that will serve the most number of people," says Schwank.

Abstinence-only drug treatment, which requires people to get completely clean, has faced criticism because science points to better methods, like medication-assisted methods.

Schwank says she wants many voices in the study.

She adds: "Everything from our corrections system to drug and alcohol, education, as well as a police chief, emergency responders, district attorneys, there's so many individuals that have a stake in this issue."

If approved by the Senate, the study by a bipartisan state commission will take 18 months.

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