Heffley and Committee Discuss Report on Expanding Next Step Programs for Treating Drug Addiction in Pennsylvania
3/24/2021
HARRISBURG – Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) on Tuesday participated in an informational meeting convened by the House Human Services Committee to discuss a recently completed report on next step recovery, or “warm handoff,” programs for individuals struggling with drug addiction in Pennsylvania.

The report was prepared by the Joint State Government Commission after an in-depth review of warm handoff to treatment programs conducted by an advisory committee made up of physicians, hospital administrators, EMS company representatives, law enforcement officials and drug treatment experts.

In 2019, Heffley was appointed to serve on a legislative task force that initiated the 18-month study. During the 2019-20 legislative session, he was the prime sponsor of a bill to establish a statewide warm handoff to treatment program.

“I want to thank the Human Services Committee for taking up this critical issue and the Joint State Government Commission for all the hard work it did in preparing the report, which will now serve as a guideline for developing legislation that helps to get more addicted Pennsylvanians into treatment,” said Heffley.

The advisory committee examined methods of collecting useful data, identify funding sources, and, most importantly, find ways to stabilize those suffering from a drug addiction and getting them into treatment.

The report concluded the best route for expanding the warm handoff to treatment initiative is to develop the process already in place by building on existing resources, including county agencies and mental health crisis intervention centers. These agencies are well positioned to adopt further services and provide an effective platform for strengthening the existing next step recovery system across the Commonwealth, according to the commission.

“We took a similar approach to addressing a drug-related problem a few years ago with the opioid task force, and that led to significant changes in how those drugs are prescribed in Pennsylvania. As a result, the exposure of young people to opioids has been reduced dramatically and that has saved lives. We are hoping for the same kind of success in this new effort regarding warm handoff to treatment programs,” Heffley added.

During the meeting, the committee heard from commission members, law enforcement officials, state department administrators and drug treatment experts.

“This is about finding effective ways to get those with addictions long-term treatment to break the cycle of opioid abuse,” House Human Services Committee Majority Chairman Frank Farry (R-Bucks) said. “Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the findings and has dedicated their time and expertise to this life-saving cause.”

The commission’s report is available on its website, jsg.legis.state.pa.us.

A video recording of the meeting can be viewed at pahousegop.com/video/human-services.

Representative Doyle Heffley
122nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Andy Briggs
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