HARRISBURG – A joint legislative briefing on drug addiction in rural Pennsylvania took place today, headed by Sen. Lisa Baker, R-20th District, and Rep. Matthew Baker, R-68th District. Click here to see the agenda and video of the briefing.
Sen. Baker offered the following statement:
“Those of us who have the privilege of representing rural areas and small communities have a deep appreciation of the distinct advantages of life here. We are well-schooled in the challenges of sustaining the quality of life. It often requires concerted advocacy to secure appropriate recognition when laws are passed and policies are decided. It is always a battle to secure a fair share of funding when state formulas are devised. Fortunately, through experience, elected officials and community leaders become practiced at doing so.
Even in the best of times, it takes a lot of effort to secure access to health care. The strengths we have achieved in rural health care are weakened by the burdens placed on it by increasing addiction.
The opioid crisis is a human tragedy that is devastating and alarming. We are changing laws and practices and attitudes, but it is slow going in making discernable progress. The problem has built over a generation, and cannot be quickly reversed. Whatever laws and funding we make available from state government, the fight will be waged community by community.
There are many avenues by which individuals are ensnared in addiction. So it is unrealistic to believe one remedy or one set of remedies will turn the situation around. Our choice is not one of pursuing A or B. Probably more the case of A, B, C, D, and through the alphabet.
The effects on rural areas are magnified, because it hits at our reputation and at our resources. The sort of conversation being held today is necessary to concentrate and target our efforts.”
Andrew M. Seder