The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) today announced Secretary Jen Smith has been awarded the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD), Inc.’s Nyswander/Dole “Marie” Award which recognizes outstanding contributions to the opioid treatment field.
The Nyswander/Dole “Marie” Award was recently presented to Smith at the 2022 AATOD International Conference on November 2. This award is the highest accolade for contributions to the field and recipients are selected by their peers from each region in the United States and at least one international region.
“Accepting this award is a truly humbling honor. To the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence and my peers from across the country — thank you from the bottom of my heart,” said Secretary Smith. “From navigating the turbulent waters of COVID-19, to spearheading programs to help individuals in recovery, and everything in between, I am so proud of the work that we have accomplished under my last seven years in the Wolf Administration.”
Additionally, Smith received the Community Partner Award from the Bridge Way School, Pennsylvania’s first recovery high school. The mission at Bridge Way School is to offer a strong academic program to students in grade 9-12 who are in recovery from substance use disorder (SUD) and, in addition, allow them to focus on learning in an environment in which sobriety is required and supported.
“Each year, Bridge Way honors individuals who have supported our work or advanced the field of recovery. Secretary Smith has done both,” said Lois S. Hagarty, Bridge Way School Board Member. “Given her leadership of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, championing Bridge Way and highlighting the need for recovery supports throughout the state, we are honored to provide Secretary Smith with this award.”
“I am incredibly honored to receive the Community Partner Award,” Smith said. “The Bridge Way School’s mission aligns with the vision of my department, which is for all Pennsylvanians to live free or be in recovery from the disease of addiction. Partners like the Bridge Way School are vital in our effort to continually develop a strong network across the commonwealth to prepare individuals for their transition into a life of recovery.”
Smith has worked tirelessly to ensure that fighting the addiction crisis remains a priority on the federal, state, and local levels. As the leader of DDAP under the Wolf Administration, Smith has brought about tremendous change including:
- securing nearly $620 million in federal funding, in addition to ongoing block grant funding, for innovative SUD prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery-related projects
- investing more than $60 million toward no-cost naloxone for Pennsylvanians and successfully advocating for the legalization of fentanyl test strips
- increasing access to SUD treatment through the more than 100,000 intake calls received by the Get Help Now hotline and launching the Addiction Treatment Locator, Assessment, and Standards (ATLAS) Platform across the commonwealth
- expanding awareness of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) by hosting regional summits, updating department manuals to mandate MAT as part of all levels of care, expanding coverage of FDA-approved medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) through insurers without pre-authorization, and expanding use of MAT in corrections/county jails
- significant growth in outpatient SUD treatment capacity and increasing support of the bridge model during the COVID-19 pandemic
- through the Life Unites Us campaign, reducing stigmatizing attitudes towards individuals with an SUD and their families, one of the major barriers for those considering treatment.