Who is the lead department in Pennsylvania?

The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) previously, a bureau within the Department of Health, DDAP gained cabinet level status in July of 2012.

Headed by Secretary Jennifer Smith, it is tasked with overseeing all programs and efforts related to education, prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery associated with drug and alcohol misuse and dependency for Pennsylvania citizens. DDAP provides training, monitoring, and funding for programs utilizing federal and state dollars.

What is a Single County Authority (SCA)?

In order to receive State and Federal administrative, treatment, and prevention funding, Pennsylvania counties are required to designate an agency to function as the Single County Authority and be responsible for program planning and the administration of state and federally funded grant agreements. This includes the delivery and oversight of prevention; intervention/treatment; and treatment-related services pertaining to substance use/misuse, and problem gambling disorders.

Some of the Commonwealth’s 67 counties have opted to share administrative costs by creating multi-county administrative units, hereinafter referred to as “joinders.” For example, Clearfield county and Jefferson county make up a joinder. On the PA Stop web site there is a section called, “Find Help.” In this section every county SCA is listed for your reference.

The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) oversees this network of SCAs and performs central planning, management, and monitoring duties at the state level, while the SCA provides planning and administrative oversight for the provision of substance use and problem gambling disorders at the county/local level. DDAP provides State and Federal funding to SCAs through grant agreements. Services may be provided either directly or by contract.

What is an anti-drug coalition?

An anti-drug coalition is a group of community members that works together to prevent problems related to drug and alcohol use/misuse. Membership can include a wide variety of people such as: mental health counselors, police, probation officers, drug and alcohol counselors, school district staff, clergy, elected officials, prevention practitioners, business leaders, hospital staff, individuals in recovery, treatment providers, members of the higher education community and other interested individuals.

These coalitions utilize local data to assess the impact of risk and protective factors and then plan accordingly to raise awareness, educate, and inform the public to reduce drug and alcohol misuse. One example of a community coalition is the Communities That Care Model that implements specific steps and strategies in a multi-year process that mobilizes the community and reduces drug and alcohol use/misuse.

What do I need to know about confidentiality regarding drug or alcohol use/misuse?

Drug and alcohol professionals have a very strict, ethical, responsibility regarding confidentiality and individuals with substance misuse or addiction. The reason for this is to assure individuals who are seeking help know their personal information cannot be shared, thus encouraging them to seek treatment without the concern of embarrassment or exposure.

Faith leaders, who are not licensed professional counselors, are not bound by this same requirement, but are urged to keep personal information as confidential as possible. When members of their faith communities’ approach them with concerns about substance misuse, either for themselves or a family member, they should proceed to offer support and provide accurate information.

Although there is no general statement regarding confidentiality that would cover all faiths and we are not promoting a particular religion, listed below is an example of one religion’s directive to faith leaders. The Presbyterian “Book of Order 2019-2021” includes among other items, the laws of governance of the Presbyterian Church USA denomination. In it is a section entitled, “G-4.03 Confidence and Privilege,” with the following relevant summary points:

G-4.03 CONFIDENCE AND PRIVILEGE G-4.0301 Trust and Confidentiality. In the exercise of pastoral care, ministers of the Word and Sacrament and ruling elders who have been commissioned by a presbytery to limited pastoral service (G-2.10), shall maintain a relationship of trust and confidentiality, and shall hold in confidence all information revealed to them in the course of providing care and all information relating to the exercise of such care.

When the person whose confidences are at issue gives express consent to reveal confidential information, then a minister of the Word and Sacrament or a commissioned pastor (also known as commissioned ruling elder) may, but cannot be compelled to, reveal confidential information. A minister of the Word and Sacrament or a commissioned pastor (also known as commissioned ruling elder) may reveal confidential information when she or he reasonably believes that there is risk of imminent bodily harm to any person.

How do I find out about drug and alcohol prevention and treatment services in my area?

There are various prevention and treatment services throughout Pennsylvania. To learn what options are in your area, go to the “Find Help” section of the PA Stop web site where the lead agency (SCA) is listed by county. The SCA agency will be able to provide information about prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery options that are available.