Pennsylvania’s Warm Hand-Off Program Nationally Recognized for Connecting Patients to Treatment

September 6, 2018 | Addiction Policy Forum
For Immediate Release                                                                                                                           Contact:
September 6, 2018                                                                                                                           Kelsey Trotter                                                                                                                                   ktrotter@addictionpolicy,org                                                                                                                            

Pennsylvania’s Warm Hand-Off Program Nationally Recognized for Connecting Patients to Treatment

Addiction Policy Forum’s newest Spotlight Series program assists Pennsylvanians into recovery

Washington, D.C. –  Today Addiction Policy Forum announced Pennsylvania’s Warm Hand-Off as a featured program in its Spotlight Series Initiative, which highlights innovative programs across the country that contribute to a comprehensive strategy to address addiction.

“In a majority of hospitals across the nation, there are huge missed opportunities to improve health when a patient is treated for a drug overdose but not connected to treatment when they are discharged. Pennsylvania’s Warm Hand-Off program is a critical policy that closes that gap and should be replicated in other states,” says Mark O’Brien Addiction Policy Forum Executive Vice President of State and Local Affairs.

Pennsylvania’s Warm Hand-Off program requires all county offices that provide drug and alcohol programs to establish protocols for seamless transitions for patients leaving the emergency department and entering substance use disorder treatment in their communities. The goal is to increase the number of Pennsylvanians who are in recovery.

“Establishing a warm hand-off process allows emergency responders and drug and alcohol treatment providers to coordinate care that is vital to a patient’s long-term health when they need it most,” says Jennifer Smith, Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary.

Addiction Policy Forum features innovative programs as part of its Spotlight Series Initiative. Programs are nominated by key stakeholders, community members, and/or experts in the fields of addiction.   


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About Addiction Policy Forum

Addiction Policy Forum is a 501(c)(3) organization established in 2015 as a diverse partnership of organizations, policymakers, and stakeholders committed to working together to elevate awareness around addiction, and to improve programs and policy through a comprehensive response that includes prevention, treatment, recovery, and criminal justice reform. Jessica Hulsey Nickel, whose own family was devastated by addiction, is the founder of a coalition of 1,700 families impacted by substance use disorders and is available for further explanation and interviews by media.

More information on our mission and projects is available at


Topics: Spotlights