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Parents of overdose victims tell Pennsylvania lawmakers that some treatment centers are “predatory”

In a crisis that has claimed the lives of thousands, it is almost impossible to find reliable information about drug abuse treatment centers and recovery facilities in Pennsylvania, a mother who lost her son overdose on Monday said. Told.

Heather Arata’s 23-year-old son, Brendan Arata, in Havertown, Delaware County, died of overdose five years ago this week, she told the Senate Democratic Policy Committee at a hearing in Reading.

After his death, she and her husband, Larry, formed a non-profit opioid crisis action network and have been involved in this issue ever since.

“Some treatment centers and recovery facilities are great, but others are predatory,” Heather Arata testified. “And with the increasing deregulation of the industry, it’s often impossible to tell the difference.”

A hearing at Reading Area Community College was held when the state was struggling to deal with the exacerbating drug overdose crisis, which claimed the lives of an estimated 5,410 people in the last 12 months when information was available. I was injured. This is the fifth highest total in the country.

The state has licensed about 800 treatment centers and is about to publish the names of recovery homes (group homes for people fighting substance abuse problems) that have completed the new state’s licensing process.

However, Pennsylvania, unlike other states, does not charge a license fee to a treatment center.

You will not be fined for violating state regulations. Recently removed the comparison tool from the state website After Allentown morning Call The article pointed out that it showed incorrect data.

“It’s almost impossible to get information about results and safety,” says Heather Arata. “We call on elected officials to provide common sense regulation and transparency to the industry, so that recovering people and their families can have the treatment center or recovery home of their choice. We can be confident that it is a safe place to provide and continue to pursue best care practices. Recovery. “

State Senator, from left to right, Judy Schwank, Katie Muse, Christine W. Tartaglione, hearing about drug treatment at Reading Area Community College on Monday, December 6, 2021. (Ben Hasty-Reading Eagle)

All three Democratic senators at the hearing (Judy Schwank in Berks County, Katie Mus in Montgomery County, and Christine Tartaglione in Philadelphia) called for a change in the state’s approach to the crisis.

“We took our eyes off the ball,” Schwank said.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the risk of opioid overdose, but even before the pandemic, the state was “out of control.”

Muth questioned the lack of data on successful treatment.

“Unless we track it and show results, we can’t say it’s working,” she said.

The Tartaglione district includes Kensington, a neighborhood in Philadelphia that is famous for selling and using drugs outdoors.

Stigma, money problem

Others who testified included treatment center leaders and government officials, who emphasized many points of friction.

Heather’s husband, Larry Arata, said society is blaming people suffering from substance abuse. He said there is a substigma in the mechanics that people who refrain from taking drugs for treatment despise those who use drugs such as methadone and suboxon as alternative “drugs”.

Among those witnessing drug treatment on Monday are Dr. Joseph Garbley, Chief Medical Officer of the Caron Foundation, and Robert Dellavella, CEO of Self Help Movement Inc (BEN HASTY — READING EAGLE).

Robert Dellavella, CEO of SelfHelp Movement, a treatment center in Philadelphia, said that treatment centers where clients have private insurance have far more refunds per client than centers with clients who are eligible for Medicaid like themselves. I said there are many.

“There is a lot of disparity between the two,” said Delabella.

“We need to desperately raise money,” he said, in order to attract psychiatrists, doctors, nurses, and counselors to the industry.

Joseph Garbury, chief medical officer at the Caron Foundation in Berks County, said his organization believes in using drugs to support treatment. Known for private payment programs, he said the Foundation currently deals with people under contracts with insurance companies.

Berks County Tragedy

Doug Nemes of Burkes County, whose 31-year-old son Zachary Nemes died of drug overdose in late September, has his sons throughout the state and Florida.

“Every day I wonder what I could do,” Nemes said.

His son grew up to love a variety of sports, including fishing. He was one of five brothers, all graduated from college.

However, Zachary Nemes fell into the habit of substance abuse and spent some time in jail, his father said.

During his many treatment attempts, his father said, “All institutions have provided new hope.” However, he said that “he had no temptation to take drugs” and that some of his son’s happiest moments during substance abuse were put in jail.

Doug Nemes said on September 29 that he found Zachary lying down on the floor of his bedroom and sticking a needle in his arm.

“My wife and I were afraid that this would end up like this for years,” said Doug Nemes.

Reading Area Community College hosts hearings by State Senate Democrats on the evaluation and improvement of Pennsylvania’s drug treatment centers. It was held on Monday morning, December 6, 2021 at RACC’s Schmidt Training and Technology Center in Reading, PA. (BEN HASTY — READING EAGLE)

Comparison data has been deleted

The State Department’s drug and alcohol program has since removed the “comparison tool” part of its website. morning Call It became clear that the total number of treatment center violations was incorrect.

This information should have helped guide people in assessing the quality of treatment centers.

On Monday, agency Secretary Jennifer Smith said a new online tool is set to debut in 2022. It is summarized by a non-profit Shatterproof that has contracts with state agencies worth over $ 1 million.

However, Smith emphasized that choosing the best facility type for a person is a “clinical decision” following a formal clinical evaluation.

In February, Schwank reintroduced a bill requiring treatment centers to pay licenses. She said she was open to adding words that would enable a respectable law violation treatment center in the state. But the bill didn’t go anywhere in the Republican-controlled parliament.

Smith said her agency was in talks with Republican Senator Mario Scavello in Monroe County on Monday. He circulated a memo in May calling for co-sponsoring a bill that could impose fines on care providers.

Schwank recently issued a proposal requiring state agencies to distribute annual surveys to treatment centers. Answers will be published online.

Parents of overdose victims tell Pennsylvania lawmakers that some treatment centers are “predatory”

Source link Parents of overdose victims tell Pennsylvania lawmakers that some treatment centers are “predatory”

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