Find Help for Substance Use Disorder
Find Help for Substance Use Disorder
The disease of addiction affects each and every Pennsylvanian and threatens entire communities in our Commonwealth.
The Shapiro Administration is working tirelessly toward our vision of Pennsylvanians living free or in recovery from the disease of addiction resulting in a safe, healthier Commonwealth.
Help is available for Pennsylvanians battling substance use disorder and their loved ones. This guide will connect you to the resources you need to live a long and productive life.
Help is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. To access substance use disorder treatment and resources now, call the Get Help Now hotline at 1-800-662-HELP.
If somebody has taken drugs and becomes unresponsive, call 911 immediately. These resources are intended for preventive measures only.
Risks of Prescription Opioids
Prescription opioids can be an important part of treatment for pain, but they also come with serious side effects and risks. It is important to consider the risks and talk to your health care provider about your options.
Prescription opioids are dangerous and should be treated with extra caution. Physical tolerance and dependence, addiction, and death from overdose are some of the serious risks associated with opioids. These risks are especially associated with long-term use but can happen anytime. In fact, long-term dependence becomes much more likely after just five days.
To minimize the risks of prescription opioids and effectively manage your pain:
Call the Hotline
Are you or is someone you know suffering from substance use disorder? We can help. Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for information about treatment resources. Your call is confidential. The hotline is staffed by trained professionals 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is available in both English and Spanish.
Find a Single County Authority
Local treatment programs are administered through county drug and alcohol offices called Single County Authorities. These programs can help with treatment funding, assess the need for treatment or other services, and make referrals to match treatment and/or service needs.
Find a Center of Excellence
Centers of Excellence are designed to get more people into treatment and keep them engaged in their care. The centers coordinate care for people with Medicaid. Treatment is team-based and “whole person” focused, with the explicit goal of integrating behavioral health and primary care. More information about Centers of Excellence.
To find a Center of Excellence near you, view the map below:
Find a Treatment Provider
You also can reach out directly to treatment providers near you. A treatment provider or facility provides treatment options for those suffering from substance use disorder.
The Magnitude of the Epidemic
The opioid epidemic affects every walk of life. Rich, poor, black, white, young, or old — the opioid crisis is unprejudiced in its reach and devastation. At least 10 Pennsylvanians die every day from a drug overdose.
Naloxone is a safe, easy-to-use, live-saving medication that has one job: Reverse an opioid overdose by blocking the effects of opioids.
An opioid overdose happens when the body cannot handle the amount of opioids that a person takes or if they take a dangerous combination of opioids and other substances like alcohol, other medications, or drugs.
Opioids can slow down a person’s breathing, or even completely stop their breathing.
Additional signs of an overdose include:
- Small, pinpoint pupils
- Falling asleep or loss of consciousness
- Choking or gurgling sounds
- Limp body
- Pale, blue, or cold skin
You can save a life by giving naloxone to a person experiencing opioid overdose.
At the Pharmacy
The Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Physician General signed a standing order prescription for naloxone.
This means you do not need to get a prescription for naloxone from your healthcare provider.
Show the standing order document to your pharmacist on a cellphone or tablet, or print the document and show it to your pharmacist.
The cost of naloxone from a pharmacy can vary. Before going to the pharmacy, you might want to call your health insurance carrier to find out if naloxone is a covered benefit under your policy and/or if you may have an out-of-pocket cost.
You also can call your pharmacy of choice, provide your health insurance information, and confirm your out-of-pocket cost of naloxone.
Copay Assistance for Naloxone
From Community Organizations
If you need naloxone for personal use, you can find a list of community organizations that provide them on this map.
If you are an organization that would like to offer naloxone for distribution to the community you serve, you can order them through the Pennsylvania Overdose Prevention Program.
If you do not have health insurance or if cost is a barrier, you might want to get free naloxone by mail.
Through NEXT Distro, anyone can get naloxone mailed to their home for free.
How To Use Naloxone
Anyone can learn how to safely give naloxone to someone experiencing an overdose.
Training is available at:
You also can reach out to your health care provider or pharmacist with questions about administering naloxone.
Here’s how to give someone naloxone nasal spray:
STEP 1: Peel back the package to remove the device.
STEP 2: Hold the device with your thumb on the bottom of the plunger and two fingers on the nozzle.
STEP 3: Place and hold the tip of the nozzle in either nostril, until your fingers touch the bottom of the patient’s nose.
STEP 4: Lastly, press the plunger firmly to release the dose into the patient’s nose.
About Drug Test Strips
Test strips allow people to stay informed about potential harms in the illicit drug supply.
- While strips cannot determine the quantity, purity, or type of fentanyl in a sample, they have demonstrated utility in detecting whether the presence of certain harmful additives like fentanyl or “tranq”.
- Test strips have been shown to have significant utility as a public health and engagement tool for people who use drugs.
- Test strips are one tool to prevent overdose if used correctly and with other risk reduction practices like naloxone.
How can I get test strips?
If you need drug testing strips for personal use, you can find a list of community organizations that provide them on this map.
If you are an organization that would like to offer test strips for distribution to the community you serve, you can order them through the Pennsylvania Overdose Prevention Program.
Pennsylvania Overdose Prevention Program
POPP offers multiple formulations of naloxone as well as drug checking strips designed to detect “tranq” and fentanyl at no cost to organizations across Pennsylvania. Any organization in Pennsylvania interested in naloxone and/or drug checking strips may make a request to receive these supplies for free using the POPP Request Form.
Responding To An Overdose
- Try to wake the person up by calling their name or rubbing the middle of their chest with your knuckles.
- Call 911 for help.
- Use naloxone if you have it – if the person overdosing does not respond within 2 to 3 minutes after administering the first dose of naloxone, administer a second dose.
- Support the person’s breathing by ensuring their airway is clear or begin rescue breathing. Position the person on their side if they are breathing on their own.
- Slap or try to forcefully stimulate the person.
- Put the person into a cold bath or shower. This increases the risk of falling, drowning, or going into shock.
- Inject the person with any substance (salt water, milk, “speed,” heroin, etc.). The only safe and appropriate treatment is naloxone.
- Try to make the person vomit the drugs they may have swallowed. Choking or inhaling vomit into the lungs can cause a fatal injury.
Good Samaritan Law
Through the Good Samaritan provision of Act 139, members of the community, family members, friends, and bystanders can lawfully administer naloxone to someone who is experiencing an overdose.
This provision provides immunity from prosecution for those who respond to an overdose by administering naloxone and/or call 911.
Drug Take-Back Boxes
The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, the Office of the Attorney General, the National Guard, and the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, spearheaded an expanded prescription drug take-back box program to reduce the amount of prescription drugs available for potential misuse.
Through grants, this program has placed hundreds of take-back boxes across all 67 counties. Since its start in January 2014, hundreds of tons of prescription drugs have been collected and safely discarded.
Find a drug take-back location near you.
Resources for Families
It’s not easy supporting a loved one with substance use disorder or dealing with the many challenges that come along with it. You are not alone. Resources are here to help you.
- Online chat: Chat online with an expert (you can stay anonymous if you wish).
- Get Help Now: Call the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs’ Get Help Now hotline at 1-800-662-4357 and get connected to supports.
- Grief support: Coping with the loss of a loved one due to a drug or alcohol overdose? Find a grief support group in Pennsylvania.
- Nar-Anon: Nar-Anon Family Groups help people who feel desperation around the substance use disorder of someone they are close to.
- SMART Recovery Family & Friends: SMART Recovery offers online and in-person meetings for loved ones.
- Family Therapy: Find a therapist who specializes in substance use issues.
As a result of the opioid crisis, more grandparents and extended relatives are raising children in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania’s KinConnector Helpline was created to connect grandparents and other caregiver relatives to local, state, and federal resources, including:
- Physical and mental health services
- Health care coverage
- Social Security
- School enrollment help
- Support groups
- Financial assistance
- Legal aid
- Other caregiver resources
The helpline is staffed by compassionate and knowledgeable social service professionals and is available:
- Monday-Thursday: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Call 1-866-546-2111 to access the KinConnector Helpline.
Help a Loved One Get Treatment
Starting a conversation about getting help isn’t easy. These tips from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism are helpful for talking with your loved one about getting treatment:
- Think about what you are going to say before you say it. Consider a role-playing practice with someone else.
- Choose the right time to talk. Your loved one should be sober for this. Avoid having this chat at celebrations and on holidays.
- Try to be calm and supportive. Your loved one’s life may be in chaos right now. You can be a calming influence.
- Don’t gang up on the person. It’s important that they feel supported, not threatened.
- Stick with the facts. A person with substance use disorder has a medical problem. Treatment works, and recovery is possible. Let them know you’re here to help them find a good plan of action.
The National Association of Children of Addiction educates and supports children and family members to lead healthy lives despite being hurt by substance use disorder. The organization teaches the “seven Cs” for helping kids cope with parental substance use:
I didn’t cause it. I can’t control it, and I can’t cure it.
I can help take care of myself by communicating my feelings, making healthy choices, and celebrating me.
Alateen has chats for young people, ages 13 to 18, who have been affected by someone else’s substance use. Register for an Alateen Chat.
Whether you’ve just discovered your child’s substance use or you need a new approach, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids’ Parent Helpline is here to help you:
- By text: Text your question to 55753 for a response within 24 hours
- By phone: Call 1-855-378-4373 to speak with a specialist (9 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m. on weekends)
- By email: Send a message to a helpline specialist
Knowing the facts can help your child get on the road to recovery:
- Substance use changes the brain, which can make drug use compulsive.
- Expecting your child to quit cold turkey is unrealistic.
- Intervening early is better than waiting for “rock bottom.”
- Your child can have mixed feelings about treatment, and it still can be effective.
- Resumed use is common and often occurs before achieving long-term recovery.
- Positive behavior and communication skills are more effective than punishment.
- It’s crucial to find the best treatment for your child’s unique needs.
- Medication-assisted treatment is the gold standard of care for opioid use disorder.
- Using person-first language is proven to reduce stigma and improve treatment.
This crisis toolkit has resources for parents of loved ones with substance use disorder.
Support on Social Media