Pennsylvania drug and alcohol treatment centers told to prepare for coronavirus

Jennifer Smith, Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs secretary, recently urged drug and alcohol treatment providers to prepare for additional coronavirus cases statewide.

“As part of their drug and alcohol license, treatment facilities must have continuity plans developed to ensure that individuals have access to drug and alcohol services during events like the spread of COVID-19,” Smith said. “As a precaution, I encourage all licensed entities to review and update their plans, as necessary. The safety of our providers and the individuals they serve are of utmost importance to us.”

Narcotic Treatment Programs and Opioid Treatment Programs are asked to consider expanding filing exceptions and guest dosing through the state Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Treatment facilities with questions related to continuity planning are asked to contact the state.

In early March, the Pennsylvania Department of Health began testing for potential coronavirus cases. Previously, the state had been sending samples for testing to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

By moving testing to the state, the turnaround time was shortened from two to three days to 24 hours with tests processed by the Department of Health at its laboratories in Chester County. The lab can process six tests daily.