Archive for the ‘News’ Category

NEWS: Governor Wolf Announces Progress, Renewal of Opioid Disaster Declaration

May 14, 2018 (Harrisburg, PA) – Governor Wolf Announces Significant Progress in Opioid Disaster Declaration Initiatives

April 4, 2018 (Harrisburg, PA) – Governor Tom Wolf announced the renewal of his 90-day opioid disaster declaration, which was introduced in January and set to expire on April 10. The renewal allows for the 13 initiatives introduced in the past 90 days to continue without interruption and for the introduction of new initiatives to help those suffering from opioid use disorder (OUD)… Continue reading.

Related Links:

The Rundown: Gov. Tom Wolf renews opioid disaster declaration (Reading Eagle)

NEWS ALERT: Gov. Wolf announces disaster declaration for the heroin and opioid epidemic

EVENT: Human Services Block Grant Meeting

EVENT: Human Services Block Grant Meeting
Thursday, May 17, 2018
9 a.m.
McGlinn Conference Center (Directions)
460 St. Bernardine Street, Reading, PA 19607

You are invited to a public meeting on May 17 – The topic is Human Services Block Grants. These grants fund services like drug and alcohol treatment. Come to learn more about this funding and ask questions about the services provided to Berks County residents.

Breakfast will be served… Be sure to RSVP by May 10.

2018 Pat Ganter Scholarship

Tassel Hanging on Pile of Textbooks2018 Pat Ganter Scholarship
Scholarship Deadline: Friday, April 20, 2018

Scholarship Information

The Council on Chemical Abuse (COCA) is pleased to announce the 2018 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 path 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 20, 2018.  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

EVENT: Problem Gambling Awareness Event

EVENT: “Too Much to Lose… Gambling is Risky!” Problem Gambling Awareness Event
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
GoggleWorks Center for the Arts
201 Washington St, Reading, PA 19601

Do you have questions about problem gambling?  The Council on Chemical Abuse (COCA) invites you to a community event to learn more about problem gambling, and the resources available in the Berks County community. An art reception of posters created by students with the theme “Too Much to Lose… Gambling is Risky!” will be displayed.

6 p.m. Doors Open
6-6:30 p.m. Art Reception
6:30-8 p.m. Educational Program (Panel Discussion)
8-8:30 p.m. Art Reception & Refreshments

*Activities will be provided for school-aged children by COCA Prevention Specialist*

Panel discussion members: Josh Ercole, Chief Operating Officer from the Council on Compulsive Gambling of PA, Inc., Eric Webber, MA, CACD, CCP from Caron Treatment Centers, Mike Reese from the Council on Chemical Abuse, and Bob Schwartz a Berks County member in recovery from addiction to gambling

CLICK HERE to get updates on our Facebook event!

This event was originally scheduled for 3/21/18 but postponed due to inclement weather. 

Addiction Hurts… Recovery Heals!


Help is available.

Many family members, friends, and individuals suffer silently when struggling with addiction – but they don’t have to. We are fortunate in Berks County to have many resources available to help through any stage of the process when addressing an addiction. Should you have any questions, please feel free to call our office at (610) 376-8669 Monday – Friday 8:30-5 p.m. A 24/7 Drug & Alcohol hotline is also available to call at (484) 628-8186.


Find more information about the following topics on our website:

Drug & Alcohol Treatment

Family Intervention Services

Support for Loved Ones

Naloxone (the medication to reverse an opioid overdose)

Building Upon a Legacy – Annual Report FY 2016/17

Since 1972, the Council on Chemical Abuse (COCA) has served the Berks County community, offering prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery services in response to the disease of addiction. Leaders and staff over the last 46 years have laid a solid foundation, on which we are building upon today. In this year’s report, you will find current news and information on programs and resources available to Berks County residents.

For further information regarding programs and statistics for the 2016/17 Fiscal Year running July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017, please CLICK HERE to download our Facts & Figures report.

View an interactive version of the report below:

Additional links related to this year’s publication:
How to Get Naloxone
Treatment Options
Recovery – Resources for friends and family

NEWS: New Show on WEEU Begins January 16!
NEWS: The New “Face” of the Council on Chemical Abuse
NEWS: COCA Executive Director to Retire After Four Decades of Leadership

Last year’s Annual Report focused on the Opioid Crisis. CLICK HERE to view.

NEWS: Berks Opioid Coalition Releases Pharmacy Naloxone Awareness Survey Results

February 8, 2018 (Reading, PA): The Berks Opioid Coalition is pleased to announce the results of a Pharmacy Naloxone Awareness Survey. The Berks Opioid Coalition is comprised of representatives of key sectors of the Berks County community including law enforcement, healthcare/hospitals, pharmacies, emergency medical services, drug and alcohol treatment, coroner’s office, education, and businesses. Ultimately, this Coalition seeks to both decrease the human toll and the public burden of the far-reaching opioid epidemic.

As part of its strategic plan, the Coalition determined the need to assess the local availability of Naloxone, a medication that can reverse an overdose that is caused by an opioid drug (i.e. prescription pain medication or heroin). Naloxone accessibility was simplified statewide in 2016 when Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania Physician General, issued a standing order. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the order was “intended to ensure that residents of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who are at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose, or who are family members, friends or other persons who are in a position to assist a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose, are able to obtain Naloxone.”

The purpose of the Pharmacy Naloxone Awareness Survey was to determine whether Berks County pharmacies were aware of the standing order, whether the pharmacies stocked Naloxone, and whether the pharmacies billed insurance for the medication. Guidance in the development of the survey was provided by the University of Pittsburgh Technical Assistance Center. From October to December 2017, onsite surveys were conducted at a total of 43 pharmacies throughout Berks County including both chain stores and private businesses.

The survey results are as follows:

  • Question One: Would you honor the Naloxone standing order?
    44% reported that the standing order would be honored, 40% were not aware of the standing order and 16% indicated “no or not yet.”
  • Question Two: Do you currently have Naloxone in stock?
    56% of the pharmacies reported that Naloxone was in stock and 44% did not currently stock the medication.
  • Question Three: Do you bill insurance for Naloxone?
    70% responded that they would bill insurance, 19% responded “no” or “not yet,” and 11% of the pharmacies responded, “only if prescribed by a physician” (i.e. not the standing order).

These survey findings clearly demonstrate that Naloxone is not uniformly accessible across Berks County. Therefore the recommendation of the Berks Opioid Coalition would be the development and implementation of a pharmacy education program focusing on improved Naloxone accessibility including the application of the Physician General’s standing order.

# # #

Related links:

How to Get Naloxone

NEWS: Drugstores can dispense naloxone, but many Berks pharmacists don’t know that

NEWS: Illegal Gambling Concerns Ahead of Super Bowl

February 1, 2018 – Did you know sports betting is illegal in Pennsylvania? There are only 4 states where sports betting is legal, Delaware being one of them. Billions of dollars will be spent on illegal betting on the Superbowl this year. NBC 10 Philadelphia reports on the concerns.

CLICK HERE to watch the report.


Related links:

Addictions – Problem Gambling

The Council on Compulsive Gambling of Pennsylvania, Inc.

NEWS –  NBC10 Responds: Illegal Gambling Concerns Ahead of Super Bowl

NEWS: Grant will expand efforts to reduce opioid deaths in Berks County

Reading, PA (January 11, 2018) – The Council on Chemical Abuse (COCA), on behalf of the Berks Opioid Coalition, has received a grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) to assist in efforts to reduce opioid overdose deaths in our county. The work for this grant will run through the 2018 calendar year and will include working with local stakeholders, Berks County businesses, partnered organizations, including churches, community groups, and individuals.

Grant funds will support projects focused in the following areas:

Stigma Reduction

The stigma surrounding opioid use disorders and overdoses remains a significant barrier to individuals and families seeking help. By engaging the community in discussions, the Coalition will move ahead to develop community awareness and education programs to address stigma issues.

Workplace Education

Through collaboration with the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Berks County Society of Human Resources Managers, Berks County worksites will be connected with timely information and resources regarding opioid drugs.

Prevention and Recovery Magazine

A magazine, published in coordination with the Berks County Medical Society and Hoffman Publishing Group, will focus on important opioid awareness topics. The publication will be printed twice a year at locations including worksites, doctor and dentist offices, medical clinics, schools, universities, hair and nail salons, senior centers, churches, and social service agencies.

Family Education

Berks Counseling Center will implement Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT), an evidence-based educational program, designed to educate family members regarding substance use disorders and how they can best support the recovery process.


The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) “provides leadership in system-wide coordination and in building collaboration among public servants and private citizens representing all aspects of the criminal and juvenile justice systems and victim services.” Read more about PCCD HERE.

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