(Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) April 23, 2018 – Tom Wolf, Governor of Pennsylvania, signs a proclamation declaring April 23rd-29th, 2018 National Addiction Treatment Week throughout Pennsylvania. National Addiction Treatment Week, an initiative by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), raises awareness that addiction is a disease, evidence-based treatments are available, and recovery is possible.
The adverse effects of the opioid epidemic and addiction in Pennsylvania are evident. As cited in the Governor’s Office Proclamation of Disaster Emergency on January 10th, the “total number of fatal drug overdoses in Pennsylvania in 2016 was 4,642, a 37% increase from 2015 and those deaths increasingly are the result of fentanyl and other synthetic opioid compounds; and…Pennsylvania’s rate of drug overdose is 36.5 per 100,000 which is significantly higher than the national average of 16.3 per 100,000.” Most recently, on April 4, 2018, Governor Wolf announced the renewal of the 90-day opioid disaster declaration.
The significant treatment gap for addiction in the United States (US) is an important part of the epidemic. Nearly 20.5 million Americans suffer from a substance use disorder (SUD), yet only 1 in 10 people with SUD receive treatment. In 2015, nearly 2.3 million Americans suffered from opioid use disorder, yet there was only enough treatment capacity to treat 1.4 million people, leaving a treatment gap of nearly 1 million people.
“Governor Wolf’s proclamation represents another important step in helping to save lives in Pennsylvania,” said Frederic Baurer, MD, co-president of Pennsylvania Society of Addiction Medicine (PSAM). “National Addiction Treatment Week reinforces PSAM’s dedication to reducing the stigma associated with the disease, helping physicians treat addiction, and ensuring that Pennsylvanians have access to the quality care they need.”
To learn more about National Addiction Treatment Week, how to get involved, and how to spread the word about the need for a larger addiction medicine workforce, visit www.TreatAddictionSaveLives.org.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine, founded in 1954, is a professional society representing over 5,000 physicians, clinicians, and associated professionals in the field of addiction medicine. ASAM is dedicated to increasing access and improving the quality of addiction treatment, educating physicians and the public, supporting research and prevention, and promoting the appropriate role of physicians in the care of patients with addiction. For more information visit www.ASAM.org.
The Pennsylvania Society of Addiction Medicine is the state chapter of the American Society of Addiction Medicine representing over 250 physicians, clinicians, and other associated addiction medicine professionals throughout the state of Pennsylvania.
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Surgeon General, Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. Washington, DC: HHS, November 2016. CH 4-2