Editor’s Note: We have corrected the quote from Senator Dan Laughlin in this article. We apologize for the error.

The secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) visited Erie for a round table discussion Wednesday afternoon.

We heard the story of one Erie woman who has been sharing her recovery success story and providing insight for local leaders.

“It really means a lot because I started with nothing. To sit here today, nine years clean and sober, and to be able to sit down and talk about how we can help others in the community, I mean, it’s an absolute dream,” said Vicki Church, certified recovery specialist.

That’s Vicki Church, and she’s talking about having the opportunity to contribute to a round table discussion in Erie, hosted by the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.

Church shared her success story with elected officials and leaders in the recovery field.

“I went from losing my children and then I had to do a treatment court and I had to do outpatient, you name it, that’s what we were put through, that was my tough love. Back then, I hated it and I hated everyone around me. Today, that was the one thing that saved my life,” she said.

PA State Senator Dan Laughlin is introducing a bill that takes a more aggressive approach to drug recovery.

“It’s basically involuntary inpatient treatment. There will be steps along the way where people’s rights aren’t being trampled on, but most of these folks need a lifeline,” Sen. Laughlin said. “I think it’s inhumane not offer this to people, that was kind of the genesis of this bill.”

Senator Laughlin and DDAP Secretary Dr. Latika Davis said discussions like this make it easier to come up with solutions to a problem that impacts so many.

“We want to know what’s working, what’s not working and the overall goal is to improve our behavior health care system,” said Dr. Davis.