Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Discusses Efforts to Decrease Overdose Deaths in Bucks County

Doylestown, PA – Today, Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) Secretary Jen Smith joined the Bucks County Drug & Alcohol Commission, Inc. (BCDAC), elected officials, substance use disorder treatment providers and prevention specialists, health care providers, and other stakeholders for a roundtable discussion on local efforts to manage the addiction crisis.

“The southeast region of the state is one of the hardest hit areas of Pennsylvania in terms of overdose deaths,” said Secretary Smith. “What’s working, what’s not working, and how the state can support local efforts are really what this opportunity is about. The answers to those questions will help us determine how, moving forward, we can collectively address substance use trends.”

to the Department of Health, according to preliminary data reports 5,319 lives were lost to an overdose in Pennsylvania in 2021, with 165 reported deaths in Bucks County.

This roundtable is part of DDAP’s Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Listening Tour and is designed to meet with local leaders, SUD treatment providers, members of the recovery community, and other stakeholders to discuss SUD trends at the local level. This tour is in response to the increase in overdose deaths and polysubstance use throughout the commonwealth. To date, DDAP has held 10 listening sessions with several counties throughout Pennsylvania.

The BCDAC is the single county authority (SCA) of alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention, intervention and treatment and recovery support services in Bucks County. The SCA, created in 1973, subcontracts with various community-based licensed agencies to provide these vital services for Bucks County residents.

“We welcome the discussion with leadership from DDAP regarding BCDAC’s accomplishments and partnerships,” said Diane Rosati, BCDAC Executive Director. “The COVID-19 pandemic brought significant challenges to residents with substance use disorders as well as to the drug and alcohol service system, and this is an opportunity to share highlights of how BCDAC’s prevention, treatment and recovery supports have adjusted and further committed to ensuring effective services.

Since Governor Tom Wolf took office, DDAP has placed a heavy focus on reducing stigma, intensifying primary prevention efforts, strengthening Pennsylvania’s drug and alcohol treatment system, and empowering sustained recovery by:

  • Implementing Life Unites Usthe first-of-its-kind, evidence-based stigma reduction campaign which reached nearly four million Pennsylvanians in year one,
  • Collecting more than 1 million pounds of prescription medication across more than 889 take-back boxes in all 67 Pennsylvania counties,
  • Launching Pennsylvania’s Get Help Now Hotline, which has connected an average of 21 Pennsylvanians per day directly to substance use disorder treatment,
  • Expanding access to naloxone in communities through Pennsylvania’s standing order, free distribution days, and mail-order naloxone program,
  • Implementing Warm Handoff Programs in 95 percent of Pennsylvania’s hospitals and referring more than 27,000 individuals to SUD treatment through those programs,
  • Increasing access to medication-assisted treatment and treatment for uninsured and underinsured individuals with SUD,
  • Awarding over $14 million in federal funding to recovery community organizations, and
  • Expanding a new, free, and confidential SUD treatment locator resource, Addiction Treatment Locator, Assessment, and Standards Platform (ATLAS) to Pennsylvania.

DDAP is the state’s leader of the Interagency Substance Use Response Team, a tool for collaboration across state government to combat the disease of addiction by focusing on the increase in polysubstance use, stimulant use, and additional SUDs emerging in Pennsylvania. The overarching goals of the response team alignment with DDAP’s existing strategic plan goals of reducing stigma, intensifying primary prevention, strengthening the drug and alcohol treatment system, and empowering sustained recovery.

To learn more about DDAP’s efforts in combating the addiction crisis, visit ddap.pa.gov.

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephany Dugan – ra-dapressoffice@pa.gov

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