Lawmakers look into issues in Berks Co. treatment centers

Written by Rachel McDevitt | Feb 1, 2018 7:05 AM

(Harrisburg) -- State lawmakers are looking to address problems within a state-funded drug rehabilitation program in Berks County, where eight people died of overdoses within a year and a half.

The House Judiciary Committee recently held a hearing in Reading on the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Parole and Probation Treatment (ADAPPT) program and the Wernersville Community Corrections Center.

Judith Wert said her daughter witnessed two deaths while participating in ADAPPT.

While there were regular searches of people in the residential program, her daughter did manage to get drugs and was sent to prison.

"She did overdose at the diner where she was working. They took her to the hospital. At that point I tried to get to her, I could not. She ran again and she is now back up in Muncy and that's why she is not here today," Wert said.

Stacey Jordan told lawmakers her son Brandon started deteriorating in ADAPPT after making positive changes while incarcerated.

He completed the 30 days of inpatient treatment and moved to an intensive outpatient program at the Wernersville facility, where he died of a heroin overdose on Christmas Eve, 2015.

Jordan says she later learned her son had failed at least one drug test while in the program.

"This particular detail of my son's story continues to haunt me daily," Jordan said. "If my son tested positive for heroin, or any other illegal substance, he should have gone back to treatment that same day."

Staff told Jordan there weren't any beds available at the time for her son to return to treatment.

Corrections officials assured lawmakers safety is a priority in these facilities.

They said it's becoming increasingly difficult to help former inmates reenter society with the wide availability of potent drugs such as heroin and fentanyl.

Corrections officials said they have consolidated operations at the Wernersville facility to better manage reentrants there.

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