State leaders discuss need for treatment centers to curb opioid epidemic

BERN TWP., Pa. – State officials gathered at a treatment center in Berks County to search for solutions. It comes as the feds say more than 70,000 people died from a drug overdose in 2019.

“They’ll be able to rebound quickly and save up some money and feel secure and get a good foundation of recovery that they are ready to move on,” said Scott Althouse, of Easy Does it Incorporated in Bern Township, where those suffering from addiction can get a fresh start.

“I think the value of a recovery house is not often understood due to a lot of reasons, primarily stigma,” Althouse said.

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But state and local drug experts are hearing from Pennsylvanians that there aren’t enough of these treatment centers to help curb the opioid epidemic.

“And so the need for continued recovery support services, whether that’s housing or whether that’s support groups or whatever else, is really critical to ensure that an individual’s journey remains intact,” said Jen Smith, Secretary of The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.

“You know a lot of people have a loved one that they know they sent to detox, they sent to short term treatment, then they come home, but there’s a recurrence of use, then a second or third time in detox or more than that.”

That’s why the head of The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs joined State Senator Judy Schwank., to listen to those on the front lines of the crisis, about what’s most needed to keep people on the path to recovery.

“What was most important to us was to showcase what a really great recovery house can look like, what a recovery organization can look like and the value of it,” Althouse said.

Because many here believe without places that treat the root of the problem, the opioid crisis will just continue to spiral out of control.

If you or a loved one needs help finding treatment, call the State’s hotline at 1-800-662-HELP. It’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Ellen Kolodziej

Ellen Kolodziej

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