A new cabinet-level state department opens its doors July 1. A law passed last year separates the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, creating a new entity.
Republican Representative Gene DiGirolamo of Bucks County authored the 2010 law and says the new department will make substance abuse programs more accessible.
"I believe it's also a question about efficiency - government efficiency, fiscal efficiency. I think it's a big question of public safety. I think it's going to go a long way towards reducing crime in this state."
DiGirolamo says the new agency won't cost extra tax dollars.
"It's about saving money, it's about public safety. But I think it's about saving lives. And it happens every day in every one of our communities across this great state."
DiGirolamo says the department will save lives by making treatment programs more accessible. The department's initial staff will only have around ten positions. This will be the first new state department formed since 1995.