Oh no! Needed now more than ever –
August 26, 2020 – The result is a historically underfunded system buckling under the weight of dual pandemics: addiction and the coronavirus. Since March, 10 facilities have closed, though it’s unclear if the coronavirus was to blame, according to the state Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. Without more funding, that trend will continue, those at the hearing said. “In my 30-plus years of doing this work, I have never seen programs closing at the rate that they are right now,” said Bill Stauffer, executive director of the Pennsylvania Recovery Organizations Alliance, a nonprofit advocacy group. “And we’re going to be in dire straits without the kind of care that we need.”
Stauffer called on lawmakers to increase funding, not just during the COVID-19 crisis but over the long-term. With the increased isolation of the pandemic, he said, a growing number of people are suffering from substance use and mental illness. Public health experts are predicting rises in overdose deaths and suicide over the coming months.