Public Hearing on Pennsylvania’s Heroin/Opioid Crisis and the COVID-19 Pandemic

HARRISBURG – The Center for Rural Pennsylvania Board of Directors, chaired by Sen. Gene Yaw, will hold a virtual public hearing on Thursday, February 11, beginning at 9 a.m., to learn more about COVID-19’s influence on the heroin/opioid crisis in Pennsylvania. Preliminary data indicate that reported overdoses increased in rural Pennsylvania during the pandemic.
“The heroin and opioid crisis continues to devastate our residents and our communities, and the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the crisis in Pennsylvania,” Sen. Yaw said. “In the first several months of the pandemic, overdose rates in our rural and urban communities increased. We want to know what has been happening throughout the state, and within our rural communities, to address the crisis in terms of law enforcement, outreach, treatment, and recovery.”

Presenters scheduled for the public hearing are: Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro; Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Jennifer Smith; Pennsylvania Association of County Drug and Alcohol Administrators (PACDAA) Executive Director Michele Denk;   Blair Drug and Alcohol Partnerships Executive Director and PACDAA Chair Judy Rosser; United Way of the Greater Susquehanna Valley President and CEO Joanne Troutman; and Liberty Mid-Atlantic High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Executive Director Jeremiah Daley.

In addition to Sen. Yaw, Center Board members are: Board Secretary Dr. Nancy Falvo, Clarion University of Pennsylvania; Board Treasurer Stephen Brame, Governor’s representative; Sen. Katie Muth; Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski; Rep. Dan Moul; Dr. Timothy Kelsey, Pennsylvania State University; Dr. Catherine Koverola, University of Pittsburgh at Bradford; Shannon Munro, Pennsylvania College of Technology; Dr. Joseph Nairn, Northern Pennsylvania Regional College; Dr. Charles Patterson, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania; and Darrin Youker, Governor’s representative.

The public hearing will be held via Zoom Webinar. Attendees are asked to please register in advance at


Welcome and Call to Order, Senator Gene Yaw

Honorable Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania Attorney General | Video Testimony | Written Testimony
Question & Answer Period

Honorable Jennifer Smith, Secretary, Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs | Testimony of Honorable Jennifer Smith
Question & Answer Period

Joanne Troutman, President & CEO, Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way | Testimony of Joanna Troutman
Michele Denk, Executive Director, PA Association of County Drug and Alcohol Administrators | Joint Testimony for Michele Denk and Judy Rosser
Judy Rosser, Executive Director, Blair Drug and Alcohol Partnerships, and Chair, PA Association of County Drug and Alcohol Administrators
Jeremiah Daley, Executive Director, Liberty Mid-Atlantic High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area | Testimony of Jeremiah Daley
Question & Answer Period

Closing Remarks and Adjournment


The Center for Rural Pennsylvania is a bipartisan, bicameral legislative agency that serves as a resource for rural policy within the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The Center works with the legislature, educators, state and federal executive branch agencies, and national, statewide, regional and local organizations to maximize resources and strategies that can better serve Pennsylvania’s nearly 3.4 million rural residents.

CONTACT: Christine Caldara Piatos, Communications Manager
Center for Rural Pennsylvania
(717) 787-9555

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