Bill to Create Drug, Alcohol Programs Department Passes State House Committee, DiGirolamo Says
Legislation that would provide better access to people in need of drug and alcohol rehabilitation services is one step closer to becoming law after being endorsed by the House Health and Human Services Committee today, said Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks), sponsor of the bill.
The legislation, House Bill 614, would establish a separate state cabinet agency, called the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, to streamline drug and alcohol services in Pennsylvania.
“As a long-time advocate of the benefits of drug and alcohol treatment, I believe there needs to a better way for individuals and families to get the information they need to find help,” said DiGirolamo. “A cabinet-level agency that has direct interaction with the governor not only will help advance the issues of drug and alcohol rehabilitation, but I am hopeful it will also mean increased state funding for its programs.”
Another benefit of a new state department would help centralize all of Pennsylvania’s prevention and treatment services. Currently, services are offered through various programs.
House Bill 614 would establish three bureaus within the department – Prevention and Intervention, Treatment and Administration. A secretary would be appointed to head the new department.
If established, the department would develop a state plan for aspects of drug and alcohol abuse and dependency problems. That state plan would include coordinating services provided by state agencies, along with additional health and rehabilitation efforts. In addition, local councils would be encouraged to coordinate, and the plan would also call for the development of a model drug and alcohol abuse and dependence control plans for local governments.
According to DiGirolamo, more than 788,000 individuals in Pennsylvania are currently unable to obtain treatment, and one in four families is struggling to help a loved one with a drug and alcohol problem.
“The advantage of having one department is the streamlining of all services and personnel to work toward the same goal – preventing abuse and offering help to those who are dependent on drug and alcohol,” he said.
Rep. Gene DiGirolamo
18th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

(215) 750-1017
(717) 783-7319
Contact: Jennifer Algoe Keaton
(717) 705-2094
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