ACLU-PA Position: Supports
Pennsylvania’s DUI law requires that anyone charged with a DUI offense, whether it's a first or repeat offense, be assessed for drug and alcohol addiction as a condition of Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) or prior to sentencing. However, PA's assessment process does not currently include consideration of medication when establishing treatment recommendations.
HB 1781 (PN 2191) would ensure that defendants being assessed for drug and alcohol addiction following a DUI charge would also be considered for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in conjunction with behavioral therapies, if such treatment is deemed clinically appropriate. Consistently offering people charged with a DUI offense the means to enter and sustain recovery also offers the greatest chance to avoid relapsing and reoffending.
Medication-assisted treatment is the evidence-based gold standard for opioid use disorder. HB 1781 would offer DUI defendants battling addiction access to this treatment—an attempt to address the root problem, rather than repeating the same failed policies of ineffective and ever-escalating, harsher punishments.
Check the bill's status here.