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February 10, 2020

Wolf Administration Awards Grants to Expand Medication-Assisted Treatment in Nine County Jails

Harrisburg, PA – Today, the Wolf Administration announced more than $1.2 million in grants to nine county jails to support the county jail-based Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Program to increase opioid use disorder (OUD) services to individuals incarcerated in prisons and jails across the commonwealth.

"Implementing evidence-based treatments such as MAT in criminal justice settings is an overarching goal for the PA Department of Corrections," said Corrections Sec. John Wetzel.  "However, the rubber really meets the road at the county level, and I want to credit these counties for stepping up to impact individuals by providing this important treatment in their jails. PA DOC's MAT Program Coordinator Steve Seitchik will work extensively with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) and the Department of Drug and Alcohol Program (DDAP) to help expand its use and find new ways to increase MAT services to individuals incarcerated in prisons and jails across PA."

The grants are part of the $55.9 million federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) grant secured by the Wolf Administration to bolster the state's response to the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic.

Counties Funding Awarded

"We are excited for this important partnership across state agencies and at the local level to ensure individuals with OUD are being treated appropriately," said DDAP Secretary Jen Smith. "We have seen inmates' lives changed through the expansion of MAT at the state level, and it is our hope that those same results will be realized at the county level as well."

"We are treating substance use disorder as the chronic disease it is rather than as an acute illness," said Seitchik.  "Research results suggest that long-term care strategies of medication management and psychosocial counseling produce lasting benefits and the use of MAT for those suffering from substance use disorder should be insured, treated and evaluated like other chronic illnesses."

"PCCD strongly supports county efforts to address the opioid epidemic," PCCD Executive Director Mike Pennington said. "Substance use treatment and MAT programs are effective and should serve as a key component in any county's comprehensive approach to reduce the use of opioids. We are pleased to be part of this collaborative initiative and look forward to learning more about the outcomes from these counties." 

Over the course of this funding, all grantees will be invited to participate in a state-of-the-art learning collaborative with both in-person and webinar components organized on a monthly basis. Learning collaborative events will include guidance and resources on topics such as avoiding diversion, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), workflow and protocol development, and referral planning/reentry.

Recipients will establish or increase opportunities to provide MAT in combination with CBT to individuals in county jails and upon release to the community. This model ensures that jails receive intensive individualized support but can also benefit from lessons learned in other jurisdictions. Participation in technical assistance, to the extent practicable, is a condition of this grant.

State agencies will be working closely with PrimeCare (in counties where they are the provider), and Vital Strategies to support robust expert technical assistance (TA) for grantee jails. TA will be provided in cooperation with Health Management Associates (HMA). HMA is a leading independent national research and consulting firm with extensive experience advising and supporting the use of medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) in jails across the country.

In January 2018, Gov. Tom Wolf declared the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania a disaster emergency and continued supporting further MAT expansion within the DOC. For more information about the work the Wolf Administration is doing to combat the opioid crisis, visit

Maria A. Finn, DOC, 717-728-3533
Kirsten Kenyon, PCCD, 717-265-8505
Rachel Kostelac, DDAP, 717-547-3314

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