Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35) and Senator Gene Yaw (R-23) will host a public hearing tomorrow with the Center for Rural Pennsylvania to gather more information on Medication Assisted Treatment services, Pennsylvania drug courts, and reemployment opportunities for people battling addiction to heroin and opioids.
The public hearing will be held at the Cambria County Courthouse, Courtroom 1, 200 South Center St., Ebensburg, PA and will begin at 6:30 p.m.
Langerholc said Senator Eugene Yaw (R-23), who chairs the Center, will preside over the hearing and will be joined by fellow Center Board Members Dr. Nancy Falvo of Clarion University, Dr. Michael Driscoll, President of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Mr. Darrin Youker of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.
Two bills sponsored by Langerholc will be highlighted during the hearing:
Senate Bill 922 creates a Court Assessment for the Nonnarcotic Medication Substance Use Disorder Treatment Program to encourage the use of FDA-approved nonnarcotic medication in conjunction with comprehensive substance use disorder treatment programs.
“This program will increase opportunities for courts to provide access to these non-habit forming treatment medications to defendants who are addicted to opioids.” Langerholc said. “The use of long–acting and nonnarcotic medications has shown to reduce a person’s need for treatment.”
“This bill is another tool that courts can use to combat this horrific epidemic and put defendants with addiction issues on the path to recovery,” Langerholc said. “It is vital that we have programs and services in place to break the cycle of drug abuse and crime.”
Senate Bill 1224 creates the “Recovery-to-Work” Pilot Program which will allow local workforce investment boards to apply for grants to make efforts to help individuals in recovery to receive necessary job training and facilitate a connection between individuals and potential employers.
“Meaningful employment is crucial to helping those recovering from addiction to stay in recovery and maintain their healthy lifestyle,” Langerholc said. “This legislation allows the local workforce investment boards to work with community businesses to fill needed job vacancies with willing applicants and provides a win-win for the economy as well as promote healthy, vibrant communities.”
In 2014, the Center held its first public hearing on the heroin and opioid crisis affecting the Commonwealth. Since then, it has held more than a dozen hearings, which have helped to create statewide awareness of the crisis, and to encourage numerous legislative and administrative initiatives to combat a disease that now claims more lives each year than those lost to traffic accidents.
The Center for Rural Pennsylvania is a bipartisan, bicameral legislative agency that serves as a resource for rural policy within the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The Center works with the legislature, educators, state and federal executive branch agencies; and national, statewide, regional and local organizations to maximize resources and strategies that can better serve Pennsylvania’s nearly 3.4 million rural residents.
Contact: Gwenn Dando