Thousands Participate in Recent Tele-Town Hall on Opioid Crisis

Thousands of households from across northwestern Pennsylvania participated in a Telephone Town Hall meeting on March 21 co-hosted by Senator Scott Hutchinson to discuss the heroin and opioid epidemic in the region.

The event was hosted by Senator Gene Yaw (R-23), Chairman of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a bipartisan, bicameral legislative research agency of the General Assembly.  He was joined by Marie Plumer, Director of the Venango County Substance Abuse Office, Dr. Brad Miller, Program Director and Director of Medical Education at the Williamsport Family Medicine Residency at UPMC Susquehanna Health, Andy Watson, Potter County District Attorney, and Barry Denk, Director of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, to answer questions about heroin and opioid addiction and discuss the Legislature’s efforts to curb the use of these dangerous drugs.

More information about Pennsylvania’s efforts to combat heroin and opioid abuse, as well as recordings of the March 21 and other Telephone Town Hall meetings are available at Senator Hutchinson’s webpage: http://www.senatorscotthutchinson.com/.

“Addiction to heroin and opioids is playing havoc across Pennsylvania,” said Senator Hutchinson. “This tele-town hall meeting provided participants with a comprehensive report on how deeply the opioid epidemic is impacting our local communities and the steps that groups and organizations are taking to address the addiction epidemic plaguing our state.”

Nearly 3,400 drug-related overdose deaths were reported in Pennsylvania in 2015, an increase of more than 23 percent over 2014. In approximately four out of five of those deaths, the presence of heroin or at least one opioid was reported.

During the 2016-17 legislative session, the General Assembly voted to include $15 million in the state budget to combat heroin and opioid addiction, including funds for emergency addiction treatment and behavioral health services.  This funding is helping open new addiction treatment centers throughout the state, known as Centers for Excellence.  It will also allow the state to draw down an additional $5.4 million in federal funding for an overall total of $20.4 million to combat opioid abuse.

 

Contact:          Justin Leventry           (717) 787-9684.