Pennsylvania Addiction Treatment and Info

For many nations around the world, the drug and substance abuse epidemic is right up there among the worst of them. But especially in the U.S, drug and substance addiction has been very costly to residents and the government alike. It is also true that some states have had a far more torrid time than others.

Pennsylvania is fast shaping up into being such a state. The state has more than 12.8 million residents in total and it is not surprising in the slightest that the state has experienced high rates of drug and alcohol abuse over the past several decades. More and more people seem to be taking up drugs and assorted substances, something which is ruining the overall life quality here.

Addiction in Pennsylvania

One of the original 13 colonies, Pennsylvania's stunning Appalachian Mountains, and rich cultural history make the state a great place to live. Home to urban manufacturing and large rural areas, the state is also home to a remarkably serious drug problem.

One in four Pennsylvania families struggles heavily with drug or alcohol abuse. Rates of substance abuse are so high in the state of Pennsylvania that in the year 2018, the state ranked 10th in the nation for drug problems.

Pennsylvania's addiction treatment helps individuals and their families regain hope, stability and better health in the face of this adversity. They work closely with both the patient and his or her loved ones to reestablish sobriety and stability in living.

Commonly Abused Substances in Pennsylvania

There are numerous substances used and abused in Pennsylvania. However, some of these are more widely abused than others. The information that follows highlights the most common drugs in the state:

1. Alcohol

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's Five Year Trend in the year 2010, 459 alcohol-related fatalities occurred. In the same yea, there were 12,712 alcohol-related crashes. There were more than 10,500 drunk drivers that were involved in motor vehicle crashes. Here are some other stats highlighting the use and abuse of alcohol and the effects on residents of Pennsylvania:

  • 35% of all traffic deaths were alcohol-related
  • 72% of drinking drivers during 2010 were male.
  • Of the 80 automobile passenger deaths in 2010, 65 were passengers with drinking drivers.

2. Prescription Drugs

The Governor's working group report of the year 2014 found that the number of opioid prescriptions written increased from 76 million in the year 1991 to nearly 207 million in 2013, representing a very drastic increase.

Controlled Prescription Drugs (CPDs), specifically the Schedule II opioids Oxycodone and Hydrocodone, are easily available in the state of Pennsylvania. Significant quantities of Oxycodone and Hydrocodone are prescribed every year.

however, the overall number of dosage units prescribed of these products has dipped since the year 2015. Concurrently, the enactment of a revamped PrescriptionDrug Monitoring Program (PDMP) took place in the year 2016 and collects information on all filled prescriptions for controlled substances.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Pennsylvania practitioners wrote an average of 69.5 opioid prescriptions per 100 residents in 2016 (taken from the most recent data available), and this was the 26th highest in the country. This ranking was a drop from Pennsylvania having the sixth highest rate in the country in both 2014 and 2015.4

At the county level, Pennsylvania ranged from 13.8 (Fulton County) to 128.8 (Fayette County) opioid prescriptions per 100 persons in 2016. More than 60 percent of Pennsylvania counties had prescribing rates above the national prescribing rate in 2016. The two most commonly prescribed opioid CPDs in Pennsylvania are Oxycodone and Hydrocodone.

In the year 2017, Pennsylvania pharmacies filled over 2.4 million prescriptions for nearly 260 million dosage units of Oxycodone products, and 1.6 million prescriptions for almost 146 million dosage units of Hydrocodone products. The total dosage units of Oxycodone and Hydrocodone products dispensed in the year 2017 equated to approximately 32 dosage units for every Pennsylvania resident.

3. Heroin

Heroin distributed in Pennsylvania originates from sources in South America and Mexico, as reporting from the DEA's Heroin Signature Program (HSP) indicates that retail heroin in Pennsylvania is predominantly derived from South American and Mexican grown poppies.

Heroin was the most frequent drug seized, analyzed, and reported to NFLIS in Pennsylvania in the year 2017, comprising approximately 38% of exhibits among the vast drug categories of heroin, FRSs, Fentanyl, methamphetamine, prescription opioids, cocaine, and NPSOs.

The number of heroin exhibits which were seized in the state of Pennsylvania and reported to NFLIS increased by 56% from the year 2006 to 2016. Data reported to NFLIS contains multiple drug fields. Therefore, exhibits found to contain heroin may also have contained other drugs. A review of NFLIS data found that heroin was seized in 97% of Pennsylvania counties in 2017.

Philadelphia and Allegheny county seizures accounted for nearly half of the total analyzed heroin exhibits in the year 2017, with roughly 32 and approximately 17%, respectively. However, despite the concentration of heroin seizures occurring in the two most populated areas of Pennsylvania, heroin presence is ubiquitous in drug markets throughout the state.

The current profit margin for heroin trafficked in Pennsylvania is quite honestly staggering. Per investigative reporting, a typical "baggie" of heroin in the state of Pennsylvania contains an approximate average of 0.02 grams of product with a price of $10.

4. Cocaine

The Office of Criminal Justice report for the year 2014 stated that at least 852 individuals - 630 males and 220 females - were arrested for opium/cocaine possession.

5. Marijuana

In the year 2014, at least 20,347 residents were arrested for the possession of marijuana. In the year 2007, the rate of arrest for marijuana stood at 207 per 100,000 individuals.

Drug Related Injuries and Fatalities in Pennsylvania

As of July of the year 2017, the rate at which Pennsylvania's drug overdoses were climbing was higher than those of any other state. In a 12-month time period spanning from the year 2016 to the year 2017, state drug overdose deaths rose by 43.4%.

In the year 2016 alone:

  • Roughly 13 people died every day from a drug overdose
  • Out of every 100,000 Pennsylvania residents, 36.5 lost their lives to a drug-related overdose
  • 70 percent of the people who died from an overdose were male
  • Opioid drugs were detected in 85 percent of drug-related overdose deaths
  • There were 2,235 opioid-related overdose deaths in the state
  • Pennsylvania's opioid overdose death rate was nearly 40 percent higher than the nation's

A staggering 80 percent of Pennsylvania's counties had an overdose death rate higher than the national average in the same year. The national average was 16.3 deaths for every 100,000 people.

Still in 2016, the top five Pennsylvania counties for drug-related overdose deaths were:

  • Fulton - 74.1 deaths for every 100,000 people
  • Cambria - 65.4 deaths for every 100,000 people
  • Beaver - 59.8 deaths for every 100,000 people
  • Armstrong - 59.5 deaths for every 100,000 people
  • Philadelphia - 59.4 deaths for every 100,000 people

These rising numbers were and still are largely due to opioid drugs. Three of the top five drugs most frequently identified in drug overdose deaths were opioids:

  • Fentanyl and Fentanyl-related substances - 52 percent of cases
  • Heroin - 45 percent of cases
  • Benzodiazepines - 33 percent of cases
  • Cocaine - 27 percent of cases
  • Prescription opioids - 25 percent of cases

Addiction Prevention in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania offers several initiatives and efforts which are geared to curb the growing rates of substance abuse among the locals. Some examples of these initiatives and efforts include but are not limited to:

a) Opioid Overdose Reversal Act 139

This law allows first responders to carry and administer Naloxone, which is an opioid overdose reversal medication that can save lives. Loved ones of a person at risk of overdose can receive a prescription for Naloxone (Narcan) under this law. Act 139 also protects a person who reports an overdose from prosecution.

b) Pennsylvania Prescription Drug Take-Back Program

This program offers safe options to dispose of medications. The objective is to cut down on the number of prescription drugs available for diversion and abuse.

c) Warm Hand-Off

The aim of this initiative is to increase the chance that a person successfully recovers from addiction after suffering an overdose. Under this program, a person receives a referral for substance abuse treatment while they are still in the emergency department.

Addiction Treatment in Pennsylvania

In addition to the preventative initiatives and efforts in place, the state has a vast variety of addiction treatment and rehab programs in place. These programs avail unique and highly personalized recovery services to admitted clients.

In the year 2010, there were 57,300 admissions into alcohol and drug rehabs in Pennsylvania. Of that number, 68.6% were men and 31.4% were women.

In March of 2010, Pennsylvania had 533 substance abuse treatment facilities. Of that number 328 were private non-profit and 184 were private for profit. The remainder of all treatment facilities was local, county, state or federal facilities.

Consider the following categories of substance abuse treatment and rehab services that are available in Pennsylvania:

i) Preparing Entry into Treatment

This is the ultimate step of detox. The doctors familiarize the individual with the full treatment process as well as what to expect. The Inpatient rehab usually offers the best chances of success after a comprehensive detox.

ii) Evaluation

The medical team screens the incoming patients for both physical and mental health issues. The doctors then use blood tests to calibrate the amount of drugs present in the patient's system. This aids in determining the level of medications which are needed.

iii) Medical Detox and Stabilization

Everyone's detox needs are different. The drug detox process helps addicted people get personalized treatment. The next step taken is that of stabilizing the patient with both medical and psychological therapy. The goal of the stabilization process is to shield from any form of harm to the individual. The doctors may then prescribe addiction treatment meds so as to prevent future complications and cut down on potential withdrawal symptoms.

iv) Inpatient Addiction Treatment

Inpatient recovery programs, referred to as residential treatment in certain circles, require patients to check themselves into a controlled environment to overcome their addictions. Patients stay at a clinic with 24-hour medical and emotional support.

It's vital to properly prepare for rehab. There's no set amount of time that is needed to prepare for treatment. It is however vital that you set an entry date for rehab and have affairs settled before that date.

Some of the things to take care of before entering rehab include:

  • Talking to your employer
  • Finding living arrangements for children or other family members
  • Planning how to get to and from the rehab center
  • Finding out what personal items are allowed

Successful inpatient clinics know family involvement is very important as far as recovery goes. Family members may contact loved ones in residential treatment to provide emotional support and encouragement.

v) Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Outpatient drug rehab is a lot less restrictive than inpatient programs. Outpatient recovery programs usually only require 10 to 12 hours a week spent visiting a local treatment center.

These sessions focus on drug abuse education, individual and group counseling, and teaching addicted people how to cope without their drug. Outpatient drug rehab can be a good standalone option for a patient with a mild addiction, or it can be part of a long-term treatment program. Outpatient drug rehab can last three to six months — something similar to inpatient treatment — or even over a year. It all depends on the patient in question as well as his or her program.

Regardless of the drug rehab type you settle for, there is a high probability that you will find the following therapy kinds in place at the addiction recovery facility of your choice:

Some of the services that you may expect when you are enrolled any one of these programs include, but are not limited to:

  • 12-step and non-12 support groups
  • Addiction education
  • Aftercare programs
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Alumni programs
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Complementary therapies, including equine therapy, yoga, meditation, biofeedback, massage therapy, and journaling
  • Coping techniques
  • Couples counseling
  • Detox programs
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Exercise therapy
  • External support groups
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy meetings
  • Individual counseling
  • Inpatient programs
  • Intensive outpatient programs
  • Intervention services
  • Life skills training
  • Nutritional therapy
  • Outpatient programs
  • Relapse prevention
  • Sober living homes
  • Stress management
  • Vocational training

Getting Help

Once you realize that indeed, you are struggling with drugs, the smart route to take is that of admitting yourself into a rehab program. This will greatly boost your chances of recovering fully and leading a sober life. The earlier you are able to access a Pennsylvania rehab program and start your treatment, the higher the chances are that you will completely readjust to a sober life.


For more information about treatment centers in Pennsylvania, Click Here.

Cities with Drug Rehab Centers in Pennsylvania

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