Policy Hearing January 20, 2022

HARRISBURG, January 20, 2022 – State Senator Katie Muth (D- Berks/Chester/Montgomery), Chair of the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee, today joined Senator John Kane (D-Delaware/Chester) and Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) to host a virtual public hearing on the recovery challenges associated with substance use disorder.

“Today’s hearing was an opportunity to hear about what we are currently doing here in Pennsylvania and whether our current treatment system is providing positive outcomes for those in recovery from substance use disorder – and more importantly, if it is not working, how can we improve our systems and programs,” Muth said. “We need to ensure that the Commonwealth and our treatment and recovery programs are effective and are providing the best means for sustained, lifelong recovery.”

The virtual policy hearing featured three panels of expert testimony that focused on funding issues faced by the recovery community; the oversight of recovery houses in Pennsylvania; and the challenges with relapsing during recovery from substance use disorder.

“This issue is personal for me – I’ve been sober for almost 40 years. And I know firsthand how difficult recovery is,” Kane said. “Individuals in recovery are facing massive challenges. But as legislators, we have the chance to make that journey a little bit easier. I’m grateful to all the panelists who testified at today’s hearing, and I’m looking forward to getting to work to make sure safe and effective recovery options are available for everyone.”

It is estimated that Pennsylvania is set to receive up to $232 million of the $26 billion global opioid settlement in 2022 and up to $1 billion total over the next 18 years. Of that funding, nearly 70 percent of all funds will be distributed to county authorities to fund initiatives that include medication-assisted treatment, naloxone distribution and services for pregnant and parenting persons suffering from opioid use disorder. 

“Having been in recovery for more than 18 years, I know first-hand how important it is to ensure people in recovery have the resources they need as soon as they reach out for help,” Tartaglione added. “The 2nd Senatorial District is no stranger to the challenges substance abuse brings. My community, Philadelphia, and Pennsylvania as a whole need to know that there are elected officials that are dedicated to helping end substance abuse and to expanding access to treatment.  The hearing today has helped to open people’s eyes to how crucial timely treatment is.”

Testifiers at today’s hearing included Jennifer Smith, Secretary, PA Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP); Bill Stauffer, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Recovery Organizations Alliance (PRO-A); Deb Beck, President, (Drug and Alcohol Service Providers Organization of PA (DASPOP); Jessica Molavi, Clinical Manager of Specialty Programs at Mirmont Treatment Center; and Adam Al-Asad and Sarah Laurel from Savage Sisters Recovery.

All submitted testimony from today’s hearing and the full video is available at SenatorMuth.com/Policy

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Panel 1: Recovery Funding

Panel 2: Oversight of Recovery Houses

Panel 3: Chronic Relapsing 

Additional Written Testimony