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Governor Wolf awards $1.5 Million to counties to combat Opioid Addiction, recidivism for inmates

Governor Tom Wolf

Harrisburg, PA– Governor Tom Wolf today announced that the Department of Corrections has recently awarded $1.5 million to human service agencies serving 13 counties to provide Medication Assisted Treatment to offenders for substance abuse disorder.

The awards will help more than 150 people fight opioid use disorder and re-enter the community as healthier and more productive citizens.

“I have made addressing the opioid crisis a centerpiece of my administration,” Governor Wolf said. “Stopping the cycle of substance use disorder while an individual is in jail is critical to ensuring they don’t overdose when they are released and return to the community healthier than when they went in.”

The grants are aimed at reducing relapse, recidivism, and overdoses by providing Vivitrol, a long-acting injectable form of naltrexone that blocks certain receptors to prevent a ‘high” and removes the craving for drugs or alcohol.

Counties, through their first responders, law enforcement, human service agencies and jails, are on the frontline of the opioid epidemic and have faced increasing challenges as the number of overdoses has risen significantly in the last few years.

The funding targets counties – particularly in rural areas – with high overdose rates and offenders with substance abuse disorder in order to address the problem before it leads to more serious crime or overdose death.

The number of individuals entering state prisons with substance abuse disorder has doubled over the past 10 years, from 6 to 12 percent. Roughly 68 percent of inmates have substance abuse problems.

“We believe these grants will be life savers in the war on opioid use disorder,” said Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel. “If we can address substance use disorder while an individual is doing short time in a county jail, we can make sure they don’t end up doing hard time in state prison – or die from an overdose.

The non-narcotic medication assisted treatment grant program was authorized by Act 80 (SB 524)

The counties receiving funding are: Allegheny, Bradford, Carbon, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Huntington, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, Pike and Schuylkill.

SOURCE: Governor’s Office