New State Department to Focus on Better Coordination of Drug, Alcohol Treatment Services, DiGirolamo Says

A new department that will ensure greater access to prevention and addiction treatment services for Pennsylvania’s residents has been signed into law, according to Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks), the prime sponsor and long-standing champion of the proposal.


DiGirolamo, an ardent supporter of drug and alcohol addiction treatment services, has been working for the past several years to raise awareness of the issue and establish a cabinet-level department. With this bill now signed into law by Gov. Ed Rendell, this is the first new state department since 1995.


“By having a highly visible, cabinet-level agency, I am hopeful that the drug and alcohol problem will be given more focus,” DiGirolamo said. “This is not only about getting treatment for individuals with drug and alcohol problems, but this department also has the potential to reduce crime, bring healing to families struggling to get help for addicted love ones and ultimately save taxpayer money.”


DiGirolamo’s law elevates the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs and all of its statutory functions to a cabinet-level department.  The current Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs has broad and visionary responsibility assigned to it by Act 63 of 1972, responsibility and vision difficult to fulfill from the level of a bureau.  The new department is expected to bring vigorous and aggressive focus to bear on the state’s burgeoning drug and alcohol problem.


“So many people are in need of treatment, and sometimes it can be extremely difficult to find out what programs and services are available,” DiGirolamo said. “This is a tremendous victory for those who need treatment and their families, and I truly believe this new department will be able to make a positive difference in the lives of so many Pennsylvanians.”


According to Deb Beck of the Drug and Alcohol Service Providers Organization, “With one in four families affected, the new department will bring critically needed statewide leadership to this problem so devastating to so many.”


Enactment of this legislation follows over six years of leadership by DiGirolamo and advocacy by the Drug and Alcohol Service Providers Organization of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Association of County Drug and Alcohol Administrators, the Pennsylvania Recovery Organizations Alliance and other advocates.  


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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