HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Overdose deaths have been on the rise in Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth is one of the worst states statistically. The state Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs has a new tool to help Pennsylvanians with substance use disorder, find the best drug and alcohol treatment for them.
The addiction treatment locator, assessment, and standards platform or ATLAS for short will serve as a one-stop online shop for Pennsylvanians to find addiction treatment providers.
“Each provider gives some assurances that they meet certain quality standards and criteria, and then the way that they meet those standards are published on a website so that when the public is looking for particular providers or particular services, they can see more specifics,” Secretary Jen Smith, Pennsylvania Drug and Alcohol Programs, said.
That includes hours, insurance coverage, medication, and family support services. Right now, the state is collecting the data and will have the expanded search option for the public in April 2022.
“About three years ago in 2017, we saw what we thought was the peak in Pennsylvania of the opioid crisis, and at that time we were right around 5,400 deaths that year,” Secretary Smith said.
The state then pooled a lot of resources together, created an opioid command center, issued a disaster declaration, and saw progress the next couple of years until 2020 when the pandemic hit.
“The number of overdose deaths continues to climb again. The most recent data shows that we have hit over the 5,000 mark,” Secretary Smith said.
But not all the data is in yet for 2020, so that number could rise, and Pennsylvania is one of the worst states in the country when it comes to overdose deaths. The state says a big factor is that Pennsylvania is located along several drug trafficking routes. Officials say new federal money will help the state continue to make more resources available for those who need it most.
The state has a 24/7 hotline for drug and alcohol treatment at 1-800-662-HELP.