Highlands Hospital in Fayette County has been designated one of 25 new Centers of Excellence to offer treatment with opioid-related substance disorders, according to Senator Pat Stefano (R-32), who said facility will provide critical emergency addiction treatment and behavioral health services for area residents.
Stefano supported the inclusion of $15 million in this year’s state budget to combat heroin and opioid addiction. The funding will enable a total of 45 new addiction centers to open across the state and allow the state to draw down an additional $5.4 million in federal funding to combat opioid abuse.
“Having an addiction center so close to home is critical to assisting people with opioid related issues, ensuring that they get the behavioral and physical health care they need,” Stefano said. “Highlands Hospital will help to assist patients and families through drug treatment and point them toward recovery. It’s a great resource at a time when the current demand for treatment beds has outpaced funding and resources.”
Stefano expressed his gratitude towards Highlands Hospital for their work, “I would like to congratulate Highlands Hospital for their successful application and thank them for stepping forward to address this critical issue in our community.”
Stefano noted that nearly 3,400 Pennsylvanians died of a drug overdoses in 2015, and approximately 80 percent of heroin addicts can trace their addiction back to prescription opioids.
He added that the Senate has passed a number of laws to address the crisis, including providing legal protections for witnesses or Good Samaritans providing medical help at the scene of an overdose, and allowing the use of naxolone to be prescribed by a third party and administered by law enforcement and firefighters.
This fall, the Senate will hold a special legislative on the heroin crisis
“While Harrisburg doesn’t have all the answers to this deadly epidemic, we can provide valuable resources and mandate changes that will help communities combat heroin and opioids,” Stefano said. “We must find ways for addicts to receive treatment that leads to long-term recovery and saves lives.”