opioid epidemic

In this file photo from July 2018, Centre County District Attorney Bernie Cantorna spoke at a town hall in Philipsburg on opioids.
Min Xian / WPSU

The Centre County District Attorney’s office is investigating three suspected drug overdose deaths that happened in the past week. While the toxicology results are still pending, District Attorney Bernie Cantorna is warning the public about the risk of lethal drugs being sold.

“The reality is, for those who have a substance use disorder, I want them to be aware and I want them to be concerned that there may be drugs being sold that might take their life, and it might only be one injection that does so," Cantorna said.

Tom Dann has now been in recovery from opioids for more than four years. He and his wife own and work together at Alleycat Quiltworks in Bellefonte.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

Maintaining recovery from opioid use disorder can be incredibly difficult, but long-term recovery is possible. Learn more about what researchers, communities and government agencies are doing to treat opioid use disorder and support individuals in their recovery journey.

Jim Hayden listens in a case presentation during one of the Project ECHO sessions intended to teach family practice doctors how to treat complex cases of opioid use disorder.
Min Xian / WPSU

Transcript:

Min Xian: Being able to access treatment where they live makes a huge difference for people with opioid use disorder. This is especially true for those in rural communities. Without having to travel for medication or counseling, recovery becomes much more realistic.

I’m Min Xian. And this is “Overcoming an Epidemic: Opioids in Pennsylvania,” a WPSU podcast looking at what researchers, communities and government agencies are doing to try to prevent and treat opioid addiction.

In this episode, we’ll talk about increasing treatment access in rural areas.

Penn State Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Glenn Sterner speaks to the audience at the Share Your Opioid Story event in State College.
Sam Newhouse / WPSU

WPSU has a new podcast: “Overcoming an Epidemic: Opioids in Pennsylvania," where we explore evidence-based solutions to the opioid epidemic.

Over seven episodes, WPSU reporters Anne Danahy, Min Xian and Emily Reddy look at what researchers, communities and government agencies are doing to try to treat and prevent opioid addiction. Today, you’ll hear two episodes, one on rural opioid care, but first, an episode on stigma.

Suboxone is one of the medicines used as part of medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. Under new federal guidance to reduce in-person treatment and slow the spread of COVID-19, eligible patients can have up to 28 days of medication.
AP photo

A continuum of care is a network of resources to help people enter and stay in treatment. Learn more about how Pennsylvania is managing this process—known as a warm handoff—for treating people with opioid use disorder.

Transcript: 

Min Xian - When someone has a heart attack, they get rushed to the emergency room. When they stabilize, they meet with a cardiologist, who can help come up with a treatment plan.

They may be told to start on a medication, eat differently, or plan for a stay in the hospital. They set up an appointment to come back.

Three state prison inmates sitting
Min Xian / WPSU

The opioid epidemic is treated not only as a medical problem, a disease or addiction, but also as a crime. I’m Anne Danahy. This is “Overcoming an Epidemic: Opioids in Pennsylvania,” a WPSU podcast looking at what researchers, communities and government agencies are doing to try to treat and prevent opioid addiction. In this episode, we'll look at how and when the legal system comes in, including Drug Courts aimed at helping people in the court system and a state prison program that trains inmates to offer support to other inmates.

Tricia Stouch fights stigma by talking to groups about her daughter Pamela's addiction. She gave one of these talks recently at Schlow Centre Region Library in State College through the Share Your Opioid Story project.
Sam Newhouse / WPSU

Researchers agree that addiction is a disease. In this episode of Overcoming an Epidemic: Opioids in Pennsylvania, we'll look at how personal stories are being used to fight stigma. And how understanding genetics and the origin of the opioid epidemic might play a role in reducing stigma.

TRANSCRIPT:

Emily Reddy (Narrator) – If there’s one word that comes up over and over again when talking about the opioid crisis – and really any substance abuse issue – it’s STIGMA. Tricia Stouch knows all about it.