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Pennsylvania Addiction Treatment Guide

In 2018, Governor Wolf of Pennsylvania declared a statewide disaster emergency related to the heroin and opioid epidemic in the state.

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The average rate of opioid overdoses in Pennsylvania is more than double the national average — 36.5 people per 100,000 die from an opioid overdose in Pennsylvania compared to the national rate of 16.3 deaths per 100,000.

The goal of this declaration is to expand access to treatment to more residents and to decrease the impact of opioid abuse and addiction within the state.

Pennsylvania’s opioid data dashboard does show a decline in opioid overdose deaths (according to preliminary information) with a drop from 5,559 fatalities in 2017 to 4,267 deaths in 2018. Falling numbers may be attributed to greater preventative measures, crisis and intervention services, and expanded treatment and recovery support.

Today, Pennsylvanians have many resources at their fingertips to get help for substance abuse and addiction.


Addiction Treatment Options in Pennsylvania

In November 2016, Pennsylvania’s Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) launched an addiction hotline that served an average of 42 callers every day in its first year. You can call the hotline, or use the online or chat service, to be connected to a certified peer recovery specialist at any time of day or night. This helpline can connect you to treatment services and provide support in time of crisis.

In Pennsylvania, public addiction treatment is provided through Single County Authorities (SCAs) as community-based services depending on the county where you live. The SCA can assess your treatment needs, refer you to the appropriate services, and determine your eligibility for service funding.


Pennsylvania’s opioid data dashboard does show a decline in opioid overdose deaths (according to preliminary information) with a drop from 5,559 fatalities in 2017 to 4,267 deaths in 2018. Falling numbers may be attributed to greater preventative measures, crisis and intervention services, and expanded treatment and recovery support.

Today, Pennsylvanians have many resources at their fingertips to get help for substance abuse and addiction.

Public and nonprofit providers receive grants as well as federal and state funding to offer services to eligible residents at a low cost or even for free. This ensures residents can get help for addiction no matter what their financial or insurance situation is.

Private providers offer a quicker route to treatment as fee-for-service providers, with a wider variety of treatment options.

The following services are available for addiction treatment in Pennsylvania:

This is often the first step in a treatment program. It can help to restore physical balance and manage withdrawal symptoms.


These services are provided through several levels of care, such as traditional outpatient where you schedule your sessions when is convenient for you; intensive outpatient programs (IOPS) where you attend structured programming several hours a day a few days a week; and partial hospitalization programs (PHPs), where you spend most of the day in a structured treatment program during the week while returning home in the evenings and on weekends.


Residential treatment programs offer ongoing support and care throughout the entire day and night, so you can focus solely on your treatment and recovery. Your days will be structured and scheduled with therapies, counseling, educational opportunities, and relapse prevention sessions. Often, adjunctive methods like yoga, meditation, and expressive therapies are included.

Sober Living

This is a transitional living arrangement that can offer a transitional option from residential treatment to traditional outpatient services. You will live in a sober living environment that is designed to support treatment and recovery while attending a treatment program. You will be surrounded by other people who are also working to maintain sobriety and life healthy lives in recovery.


Groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) use a 12-step program and peer support to promote abstinence and enhance recovery via mentorship, sober connections, and encouragement.In Pennsylvania, there are several chapters offering meetings in various areas:


Pennsylvania uses a coordinated system of care to provide MAT services to residents struggling with opioid addiction through the hub-and-spoke Pennsylvania Coordinated Medication-Assisted Treatment (PacMAT) program. MAT can offer maintenance medications to minimize relapse and treat opioid dependence in recovery.

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Paying for Addiction Treatment in Pennsylvania

If you qualify for Pennsylvania’s Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid), you can use these services to pay for addiction treatment through a Medicaid expansion, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) explains.

If you can’t afford health insurance, are not eligible for Medical Assistance, or can’t cover the out-of-pocket fees associated with addiction treatment, your SCA can help you too. Your local County Assistance Office can offer assistance.


If you have private health insurance, you can use this to pay for addiction treatment services. Contact your provider directly to find out how to use your coverage, what your plan covers, and what your out-of-pocket expected expenses may be.

Many times, you will need to use a contracted provider within a specified network. You may need a referral or prior authorization before receiving care.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is outpatient care good for me?

Your doctor or treatment provider can help you decide what might work best for you, but there are some general guidelines that can be used.

For example, do you have a stable home environment and a supportive family or roommates? A high level of support and stability is beneficial during addiction treatment. If you are going to enroll in an outpatient treatment program, it is important to have somewhere safe to go home to in between sessions and meetings. If you don’t have a safe living environment, you can move into a sober living home while you get outpatient treatment.

Outpatient treatment offers a lot of flexibility in that you can work the treatment schedule around the rest of your life. This is a great option for those who have family members to care for or work-related obligations.

How do I know if inpatient care might be better for me?

Inpatient treatment may be ideal if the following is true:

  • Your living situation is stressful and chaotic.
  • You have little recovery support from family and friends.
  • You have already tried outpatient care and experienced a relapse.
  • Your level of physical dependence on drugs and/or alcohol is high.
  • You also struggle with a medical or mental health disorder.

Inpatient treatment provides 24/7 supervision, care, and structure, helping you to spend all your energy working toward recovery without outside distractions or influences.

Are there different levels of outpatient care?

Yes. There are three main levels of outpatient care: traditional, intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), and partial hospitalization programs (PHPs).

All three programs include therapy, life skills workshops, and support group meetings. A traditional outpatient program lets you plan these around your schedule, while IOPs and PHPs are more structured.

The difference between an IOP and a PHP is the number of days and hours you spend in the program. In an IOP, you will usually attend three to five days a week for about three hours. In a PHP, you are usually there five days a week for six hours.

Can I move between levels of care if I need to?

As you progress through treatment, your needs may change. You can move up or down the treatment ladder as needed.

Programs often offer a full continuum of care that can allow you to move seamlessly from one level of care to the next. If it ends up that you could benefit from a more structured program, you might go up the ladder. If you are progressing through treatment, you may be able to move down to a lower level of care.

Regular evaluations and assessments can help you and your treatment team decide on your appropriate level of care and any possible changes.

How long will I stay in a treatment program?

The amount of time you will spend in a treatment program depends on your specific needs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends that you stay in treatment for at least 90 days regardless of the type of program you choose. You may even benefit from longer in treatment.

Footprints to Recovery

Focusing on a community approach that offers an integrated care method and treatment programs tailored to you directly, Footprints to Recovery provides a full continuum of care in Pennsylvania. We are a family of drug and alcohol treatment centers located in Pennsylvania as well as Illinois, Colorado, Arizona, and New Jersey.

Footprints to Recovery in Pennsylvania offers the following programs:
  • Daytime IOP
  • Evening IOP
  • Partial care
  • Family support meetings and family day
  • Vivitrol/Naltrexone administration at the facility

In Pennsylvania, Footprints to Recovery features a host of therapeutic, training, and support services to provide you with the highest quality of care possible.

Taking the First Step

In Pennsylvania, you can get addiction treatment help while living at home through outpatient services; you can live in a sober living home while attending treatment if you need a stable environment other than your current situation; or you can enroll in an inpatient treatment program that can provide you with around-the-clock maintenance, care, and supervision.

If you are eligible for state or federal assistance, you can often get help through a public or nonprofit addiction treatment program, but there are some gaps in treatment. These gaps are often filled by private addiction treatment facilities, which can offer a high standard of care that is more immediately available.

When looking to find addiction treatment in Pennsylvania, you will often start at your doctor, by calling a hotline, or by contacting your local county health office. You can also reach out to us directly at Footprints to Recovery to get your questions answered.

We can guide you through how to enroll, help you verify your insurance, and set you up in our addiction treatment program. We offer an orientation program for new clients every Saturday morning, so you can attend during the first week of your program.

We believe in a whole-person approach that can help you create a healthier future. Call us today to get started.

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