Media Advisory – Confronting the Heroin/Opioid Epidemic in Pennsylvania

What:  The Center for Rural Pennsylvania will hold three public hearings to solicit testimony on confronting the heroin and opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania. The first hearing will be held at The University of Pittsburgh-Bradford, and hosted by Center Board Member and Pitt-Bradford President Dr. Livingston Alexander. State Senator Gene Yaw, chairman of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania’s Board of Directors, says the public hearings are intended to continue informing the public of the health crisis of heroin/opioid addiction and fatalities, and to bring greater focus and attention to treatment and recovery services.

Who:   Click here for a copy of the Agenda for Hearing 1 – Bradford, PA

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania Board of Directors
Senator Gene Yaw, Chairman
Senator John Wozniak, Vice Chairman
Representative Garth D. Everett, Treasurer
Dr. Nancy Falvo, Clarion University, Secretary
Representative Sid Michaels Kavulich
Dr. Livingston Alexander, University of Pittsburgh
Dr. Theodore R. Alter, Pennsylvania State University
Stephen M. Brame, Governor’s Representative
Taylor A. Doebler III, Governor’s Representative
Dr. Stephan J. Goetz, Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development
Dr. Karen M. Whitney, Clarion University

When:  Friday, April 1, 9:30 a.m.

Where: The University of Pittsburgh-Bradford, The Bromeley Theater, Blaisdell Hall (Campus Map)

Background: Pennsylvania leads the nation in drug overdose deaths among young adult men, according to a 2015 report released by the Trust for America’s Health, public health nonprofit. Additionally, states across the nation are reporting an increase in heroin use as addicts are shifting from more costly prescription opioids to cheaper alternatives. More recent reports indicate that approximately 80 percent of heroin addicts traced their addiction back to prescription opioids. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vital Signs report also confirmed that health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers in 2012, enough for every adult in the U.S. to have a bottle of prescription painkillers. Further, in 2011, the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimated that 4.2 million Americans age 12 or older had used heroin at least once in their lives. In 2014 and 2015, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania conducted seven public hearings on the heroin epidemic, which has now taken center stage on the local, state and national levels. Senator Gene Yaw, Chairman of the Center’s Board of Directors, said the Center will continue to lead the way to educate policymakers, inform the public, and enhance current policies in Pennsylvania related to heroin and opioid addiction treatment.

Contact:  Barry Denk, Director or
Christine Caldara Piatos, Communications Manager
The Center for Rural Pennsylvania
(717) 787-9555

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