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Federal govt backs Pennsylvania’s decision to change its drug abuse assessment tool

In a recent letter written to the Pennsylvania state, Timothy B. Hill, acting director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the United States, highlighted that the state had “adequately addressed the concerns raised by stakeholders who had concerns with the moving to the ASAM criteria.” The federal government’s favorable view of Governor Tom Wolf’s initiative to move from a state-specific drug abuse assessment tool to something used by the rest of the U.S. is based on the fact that the new move will ensure $55 million federal funds toward treating substance use disorders in Pennsylvania.

Currently, Pennsylvania uses the Pennsylvania Client Placement Criteria (PCPC) to examine the condition of Medicaid-funded substance abusers and determine the appropriate level of care they require. On the other hand, majority of states rely on the criteria prescribed by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). The expected migration from PCPC to ASAM was pending for several months. “This waiver continues the funding that helps Pennsylvanians suffering from substance use disorder receive the full treatment continuum they need to recover,” said Wolf in his statement. He expects the move to reduce some amount of financial burden of care.

Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Jennifer Smith said the transition to ASAM would equip the state with the necessary tools required to provide quality care to people with substance use disorders. However, Bucks County Republican Gene DiGirolamo expressed his disapproval, saying it makes sense to continue using the existing tool.

State of addiction in America

Every year, Americans fall prey to various types of addiction and vices like gaming, gambling, smartphone addiction, and addiction to deadly substances, including drugs, prescription medicines and alcohol. Regrettably, only a handful makes it to the rehabs, that too only after hitting rock bottom. Addiction creates distinct thinking patterns in users that generates and sustains cravings despite negative consequences. Their brains are altered by changed chemical set-up, which forces them to focus on ways and means to obtain the forbidden substances in order to maintain the desired high.

Despite the changing times, there is still a huge stigma attached to substance use disorders, preventing people from seeking professional support. Research suggests that both mental and physical health issues arising out of drug abuse tend to impact in various ways, making it difficult to determine how to treat them simultaneously and effectively. Sometimes, the complicated nature of these conditions may prevent them from speaking out due to the fear of being ridiculed. Sadly, there are many Americans struggling with drug dependence and still hesitate to disclose their conditions due to the associated shame and guilt. But silence is not the answer to life’s miseries. One has to speak up to make life more meaningful and worth living.

Leading drug-free life

Abuse of drugs, both illegal and prescription-based, is one of the most critical public health problems afflicting Americans in recent times. There is a desperate need to create awareness among the masses about the issue encourage them to seek and offer help. It’s important to understand that people are not born to use drugs rather they are trapped in addiction, impairing their ability to exercise self-control.

If you have a loved one battling addiction and you are looking for a good addiction treatment center near you, call at our 24-hour drug helpline number 855-441-4405. Our experts from the 24/7 Recovery Helpline can assist you with your queries. You can even use our drug rehab help services to chat with our representative for immediate assistance.