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2017 Pat Ganter Scholarship

Tassel Hanging on Pile of Textbooks2017 Pat Ganter Scholarship
Scholarship Deadline: Friday, April 21, 2017

Scholarship Information

The Council on Chemical Abuse is pleased to announce the 2017 Pat Ganter Scholarship. This $1,000 scholarship is available to a Berks County High School Senior who is active in substance abuse prevention in their school or community.

The student must be planning to pursue an education in one of the following areas: human services, behavioral health, social work, addictions studies, criminal justice, or psychology. The student must explain in a biographical statement how he or she plans to use this education to work with the addicted population.

Application Requirements

All applicants must provide the following information:
  • A completed application form
  • Two typed letters of reference (from teachers/school personnel)
  • A high school transcript (unofficial will be accepted)
  • A typed 1,000-word or less biographical statement composed by you, in which you discuss
    the following:

    • Your educational goals
    • Any community involvement (volunteer or service activities), special contributions you take pride in, or volunteer positions that promote community well-being or the well-being of individuals
    • Specific areas of personal or academic growth and achievement in high school that you want to share with the committee (including awards and honors)
    • How your educational paths supports your life goals and reflects your values

Scholarship Background:

Patricia Ganter, as a dedicated employee of the Council on Chemical Abuse and Caron Treatment Centers, was recognized by colleagues for her commitment to the field of addiction and recovery.

In her role as Administrative Assistant with these drug and alcohol organizations, Patricia joined a high degree of professionalism with a compassion for those challenged by addiction. With her optimistic demeanor, Patricia will long be remembered for her steadfast belief in the power of recovery.

Scholarship Deadline and Submission Information:

All scholarship applications and materials must be received by Friday, April 21, 2017.  Applicants can Apply Online or download an application and mail materials to the following address:
Council on Chemical Abuse – Pat Ganter Scholarship – 601 Penn Street – Suite 600 – Reading, PA 19601

NEWS: Time to Talk Parent Program March 27!



It’s Time to Talk!
Empowering parents to start the conversation with their children about drugs & alcohol

Reading, PA: “Parents are the first line of defense in the prevention of young adult drug and alcohol use,” says Alicia Kline, Prevention Specialist at the Council on Chemical Abuse, “Teaching our children about the dangers of drug and alcohol is more than having ‘the talk’ but rather engaging our children in a continual conversation that develops alongside them.”

The Time to Talk parent program was developed last year and has gained momentum over the last few months as requests for the program have increased. Time to Talk provides parents with the knowledge and the skills necessary to start this growing conversation about drugs and alcohol. The program was specifically designed for parents of children of all ages, elementary through college.

“This is not about us telling parents how to parent, this is about encouraging parents to start talking about drugs and alcohol – and to share with them some tools they can use to do that,” says Kline. Prevention experts discuss how and when to start the conversation with your child about drugs and alcohol, adding to what they call the parent “tool box.” Topics during this presentation include the following:

  • Conversation tips/starters
  • How to Listen
  • Age-tailored situations
  • When children are at higher risk for use
  • Warning signs of us

“You don’t need to be a parent to be an influence and to attend and to benefit from this program,” said Jaclyn Steed, Prevention Manager with the Council on Chemical Abuse. Other “adults of influence” are also invited, including teachers, coaches, grandparents, aunts/uncles, mentors, and any others who want to learn more about talking with the children in their life about drugs and alcohol.

Come Monday, March 27, 2017, from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. for Time to Talk at Saint Andrew United Methodist Church, located at 611 Swamp Creek Road, Bechtelsville, PA. This event is free and open to the public. Child care will be provided. CLICK HERE to see the event flyer.

To learn more about the Council on Chemical Abuse and Time to Talk, please visit

NEWS: Berks County Opioid Task Force


“Addiction is an equal opportunity destroyer. No one is immune,” said David Reyher, Instructor of Behavioral Health at Alvernia University. Reyher was one of three professionals presenting at the Berks County Opioid Task Force meeting on Friday, March 10, 2017. About 50 professionals representing Berks County gathered for a meeting at the Reading Hospital to address the opioid crisis in Berks County.

The March 10 meeting opened with a presentation from Berks County District Attorney John Adams on the supply of drugs, specifically heroin and other opioids in Berks County. Adams said 95 investigations were focused on heroin last year, an increase when compared to years past when most investigations were focused on cocaine. A big difference with the increase of heroin as opposed to cocaine is that heroin leads to more deaths, due to the nature of the drug. The combination of purity, availability and low pricing of heroin has created a lethal situation in our region. The question of other synthetic opioids also came up to which Adams responded, “Fentanyl is a huge problem.”

“Anything fentanyl touches, it kills,” said Chief County Detective Michael J. Gombar. According to the National institute on Drug Abuse, Fentanyl is 50-100 times more potent than morphine. It is typically used to treat patients with severe pain or to manage pain after surgery but can be found on the streets. Fentanyl is being found cut in with heroin and cocaine throughout the county, and it is a great concern to law enforcement because of the ability to be absorbed through contact with skin. We applaud the Berks County DA’s office for their continued work to get drugs off our streets!

For individuals suffering from addiction coming to get treatment, Dan Milloy, Executive Director of Treatment Access and Services Center (TASC), noted that heroin, alcohol and marijuana are the top three drugs.  Work to get individuals into treatment continues, with TASC offering a “Warm Handoff” to those who show up in the emergency from an overdose or with severe opioid withdrawal symptoms. Berks has been successful in getting individuals into treatment with this program. To read more about the “Warm Handoff” program, please CLICK HERE.

“Without demand, supply wouldn’t be an issue,” said David Reyher, Professor of Behavioral Health at Alvernia University, in response to how addiction is the driving force behind why the supply of drugs seems to be so plentiful. “Addiction is a disease of ‘non-choice’ not ‘bad choice,’ “said Reyher. Kathy Noll, Data Analyst for the Council on Chemical Abuse and adjust professor of Behavioral health at Alvernia University spoke to the task force about how addiction works. “In addiction the brain is hijacked at the level of basic survival (eat, fight, procreate) and the drug of choice becomes #1,” Noll explained.

Lead by Berks County Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt and George Vogel, Executive Director, Council on Chemical Abuse, the Berks County Opioid Task Force has been established to assess and respond to the local impact of the opioid epidemic. With guidance from the University of Pittsburgh, the task force has gathered momentum rather quickly and meets on a quarterly basis.  Goals of the task force include community awareness and lowering heroin-related deaths. Members are in committees focused on community safety, education and prevention, community awareness and outreach, data collection/assessment and healthcare and treatment.

Committee members were asked to place their discussion and direction into the following format:

  • Goals – What as a committee they are looking to achieve
  • Rationale – Thinking behind the set goals
  • Approach – Action steps to address goals

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Kick Butts Day


What is Kick Butts Day?

Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco. The next Kick Butts Day is March 15, 2017. Kick Butts Day is organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The first Kick Butts Day was held in 1996.

What events happen in Berks County?

Every year, the Council on Chemical Abuse participates with local high schools to provide tobacco education around this day. “There’s no reason to quit if you don’t start in the first place,” says Sarah Billman, Prevention Specialist. This year on Wednesday, March 15 we will be picking up cigarette butts around the high school building, and on Friday, March 17 we will be meeting with  students to provide fun educational activities during lunch. Read about what the Council did for Kick Butts Day in 2016 and 2015.

For more information about Kick Butts Day visit their website at

The Council on Chemical Abuse provides countywide leadership in the development and implementation of policies, programs and a system of prevention and intervention services that prevent the onset of illegal alcohol, tobacco and drug use and treatment services that promote recovery from addiction to all substances.

EVENT: High with HOPE in Berks

High with Hope in BerksHigh with HOPE in Berks 
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
6:00 p.m.  – 8:00 p.m.
Alvernia University, Francis Hall Theatre
400 Saint Bernardine Street, Reading, PA 19607

Tara Handron wrote and performs her one-woman show, Drunk with Hope in Chicago, to help with outreach and education about substance abuse. Tara created this adaptation, High with Hope in Berks, to specifically address the needs and issues we face here in Berks County. Watch a preview below and CLICK HERE for more information about this event.

NEWS: Berks Recognized by State for “Warm Handoff” Efforts

2-14-17-warm-hand-off-press-conferenceFor Overdose Survivors, “Warm Handoff” into Treatment is Crucial Next Step on Road to Recovery from Addiction

READING, PA – Acting Secretary of Drug and Alcohol Programs Jennifer Smith and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine today discussed the Wolf Administration’s efforts to battle the opioid epidemic during a visit to Reading Hospital, where they highlighted the importance of the “warm handoff” protocol in getting overdose survivors directly into treatment for addiction.

“With the number of overdoses increasing in Pennsylvania, we must focus on first reversing the heroin/opioid overdose with naloxone, and then when survivors are revived, getting them into immediate treatment,” said Smith. “A warm handoff is a way to encourage overdose survivors usually transported to emergency rooms for observation to agree to enter treatment.”

It is critical, said Smith, to get those suffering from substance abuse disorder into treatment. She said the number of deaths from heroin/opioid overdoses in the commonwealth was more than 3,500 in 2015 and is expected to be much higher in 2016.

Governor Tom Wolf’s first focus was to get naloxone into the hands of local and state police and other first responders to save lives. As part of those life-saving efforts, Dr. Levine signed a standing order for naloxone that is available at pharmacies or from the Department of Health website. Anyone can use Dr. Levine’s standing order to obtain naloxone.

“We are working now on the second step on the road to recovery from addiction: warm handoff,” said Smith. “Berks County and Reading Hospital have done a great job in getting overdose survivors to enter treatment and Dr. Chuck Barbera can provide a model for the best way to do it.”

To see the full press release please click HERE.

CLICK HERE to see the article from the Reading Eagle.

“Your Bridge to Addiction Resources” – Accessing Services for Youth

Accessing Services for Youth | Meet Melani Calabria

According to the National Center on Substance Abuse, over 10 million high school students have used addictive substances including tobacco, alcohol, marijuana or cocaine; 1 in 5 meet the medical criteria for addiction. Accessing treatment for addiction is an inclusive process which includes an assessment to determine appropriate level of care. Treatment Access Services Center (TASC) is the licensed central unit intake provider that provides assessments to help youth get the professional help that they need to address their substance use disorder. Lead Clinical Evaluator, Melani Calabria says that TASC provides public funding for youth to enter into treatment who do not have their own private insurance. Melanie states young people who are referred to TASC for a drug and alcohol assessment usually do not feel they have a problem. Melanie takes time to formulate a bond with the youth so they feel comfortable sharing their alcohol and drug history. Malanie says in-patient treatment care is more readily available for youth than it is for adults and she works collaboratively with parents, schools, and youth-serving programs and agencies to ensure youth have received the appropriate services they need. Melanie says appointments to schedule assessments are available Monday –Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

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“Your Bridge to Addiction Resources” – Kutztown Strong

Kutztown Strong | Meet Guidance Counselor, Andrew Brett

A rapid response to situations impacting our communities can often result in a long-lasting effect on the community. In 2014, Guidance Counselor, Andrew Brett and dozens of residents in the Kutztown Borough formed Kutztown Strong formed to address the problems in the community which were contributing to the use opioids among youth. Community members concerned about the health and wellness of the young people assembled at Kutztown High School desiring to make a difference.

Andrew states that the group of individuals includes business owners, law enforcement, school officials, students as well as local non-profit agencies. The group has implemented several evidence-based programs for grades K – 12 to help youth make good decisions and provide education and awareness. Kutztown Strong also developed its own student survey, which is disseminated annually to determine if there the implementation of the programs have urged youth to reduce or refrain from using drugs.

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NEWS: Extreme Danger Posed by Carfentanil

pa-dohThrough its partners, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) has been made aware of the second known and confirmed death in the commonwealth from the use of carfentanil.

What is Carfentanil?
Carfentanil is an extremely potent fentanyl analog (synthetic opioid). Designed in 1974, carfentanil was previously used exclusively for veterinary use with large animals and is not approved for use in humans, as it has been shown to be 100 times more potent than fentanyl in animal studies. Carfentanil and other fentanyl analogues present a serious risk to public safety, first responder, medical, treatment and laboratory personnel. These substances can come in several forms, including powder, blotter paper, tablets, patch and spray. Some forms can be absorbed through the skin or accidentally inhaled.

Read more about the dangers of Carfentanil on the Department of Health website HERE >>>

“Your Bridge to Addiction Resources” – Drug Treatment Court: An Alternative to Incarceration

Drug Treatment Court: An Alternative to Incarceration

For the past 18 years, Jorge Acevedo has worked at Pennsylvania Counseling Services as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor.  Jorge provides therapeutic counseling, support, and referrals to individuals seeking a pathway to a better way of living.   Jorge also represents Pennsylvania Counseling Services as a treatment provider for individuals participating in Drug Treatment Court, a diversionary program which provides intensive supervision and treatment services to those individuals who have criminal charges for crimes related to their addiction.  Drug Treatment Court provides a structure and direction to its participants in hopes of encouraging participants to make lifestyle changes.  Participation in the programs ranges from 12 – 18 months, although Jorge states, its can be longer depending upon an individual’s motivation to follow direction and maintain compliance with program expectations. Jorge believes Drug Treatment Court can benefit many individuals and gave an example of a recent graduate who was able to get her criminal record expunged due to successfully fulfilling the requirements of Drug Treatment Court.

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