PA Drug & Alcohol Secretary visits State College

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WTAJ) — As opioid and overdose issues continue to affect Pennsylvanians, the Shapiro administration is working to meet with those who are directly impacted.

Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Dr. Latika Davis-Jones gathered on Sept. 27 with familiar faces in the Centre County community who have a tie to the opioid and overdose crises.

“All of us in this room are rooted in the same cause,” Davis-Jones said. “We are here to help those that need us.”

She led a roundtable discussion at the Centre County Drug and Alcohol Center at Summit Park.

“This is a very critical time,” Davis-Jones said. “Not to only hear from you and again, your counterparts across the state, but I want to know from you, what are your top issues?”

Attendees included public officials, local drug and alcohol employees, therapists, and people who are currently on a recovery journey. Those working in the sector said staffing is a big issue.

“We have staff working overtime constantly,” one attendee said.

“I’ve had 40-50 people on my caseload at one time when we were short and it’s really hard to give good care and do good paperwork whenever you feel like you’re drowning every single day when you come to work,” another added.

Many with personal ties spoke on the impact that a constant turnover in caseworkers and therapists can have on a person in a crisis.

“If I had to start that over with someone who didn’t know how I got to where I am, it could be a potential relapse at that point for me,” an additional attendee added.

Guests also touched on local efforts that could be implemented to manage these crises, specifically in more rural parts of the county like Snow Shoe and Penns Valley.

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“One of the things that seems to be possibly a good way to go is mobile medical clinics,” Commissioner Amber Concepcion said.

Davis-Jones said there are six more stops on the tour. PA Drug & Alcohol Secretary visits State College

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