Harrisburg, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) has convened a task force to examine existing laws governing access to drug and alcohol treatment and identify ways to help consumers access treatment. In addition to holding a series of public meetings, the task force will also accept and consider public comment beginning today at www.ddap.pa.gov.

House Resolution 590 charges DDAP with establishing and administering the task force to review compliance with all current relevant laws, regulations and agreements.

The multi-agency initiative includes representation on the task force from the Pennsylvania Departments of Health (DOH) and Human Services (DHS), the Pennsylvania Insurance Department (PID), addiction treatment programs, patient advocates and parents and loved ones of those with addiction. Members of the task force include:

  • Brett Lechleitner, president, Pennsylvania Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence
  • Lynn Cooper, director, Drug & Alcohol Division, Western Region Representative, Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association
  • Deb Beck, president, Drug and Alcohol Service Providers Organization of Pennsylvania
  • Michele Denk, executive director, Pennsylvania Association of County Drug and Alcohol Administrators (PACDAA)
  • Marie Plumer, Single County Authority administrator, Venango County; treasurer, PACDAA
  • Beverly Haberle, executive director, The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania, Inc.; project director, Pennsylvania Recovery Organization/Achieving Community Together
  • Bill Stauffer, executive director, Pennsylvania Recovery Organization–Alliance
  • Gina Riordan, member, Pennsylvania Parent Advisory Council
  • Robin Horston Spencer, executive director, Message Carriers of Pennsylvania
  • Honorable Michael Barrasse, chairperson, DWI Court Task Force; judge – DWI Court, Scranton
  • Jeff Hanley, co-vice president and board member, Commonwealth Prevention Alliance
  • Jessica Altman, chief of staff, PID
  • Lauren Hughes, deputy secretary for Health Innovation, DOH
  • Jean Rush, division director, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Bureau of Policy and Program Development, DHS

As part of its process, the task force will also accept and consider public comment beginning today. Instructions for submitting comments can be found at www.ddap.pa.gov.

The task force will also hold a series of public hearings across the Commonwealth beginning in late summer or early fall. The schedule of public hearings will be announced when it is finalized.

A report detailing the task force’s findings as well as recommendations to address identified barriers to treatment is due to the General Assembly in May 2017.

“We are in the midst of the worst ever overdose death epidemic, with nearly 3,400 people dying of drug overdose in Pennsylvania in 2015,” said DDAP Secretary Gary Tennis. “We must ensure that those who need addiction treatment have unfettered access to it. Therefore, the work of this task force is absolutely critical. We look forward to the task force’s findings and recommendations.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Jason Snyder, 717-547-3314