opioids

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.

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.

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.

Melissa Tomascik, a PROSPER prevention specialist, leads a training program at Carbondale Elementary School
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Prevention is key when it comes to the opioid epidemic. But it doesn’t always get a lot of attention. In this episode of “Overcoming an Epidemic: Opioids in Pennsylvania,” we’ll look at how one initiative brings schools and families together to prevent problems before they happen. We’ll also hear about a new program one Pennsylvania county hopes to launch this fall. It pairs police officers and social workers who reach out to people who have overdosed on drugs.

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.

Hands of Pennsylvania state prison inmate discussing peer support program
Min Xian / WPSU

As part of the WPSU project “Overcoming an Epidemic: Opioids in Pennsylvania,” WPSU's Anne Danahy spoke with six inmates at Rockview state prison in Centre County. The inmates are participants in the state Department of Corrections Certified Peer Specialist program or CPS, which trains them to provide peer support to other inmates. “Overcoming an Epidemic” is a WPSU multimedia project looking at what researchers, communities and government agencies are doing to try to treat and prevent opioid addiction. 

Narcan nasal spray
Anne Danahy / WPSU

By the time Jeanne Nearhoof, of Lycoming County, and her mother went to a naloxone distribution site Thursday, there wasn’t any left.

That site in Williamsport had run out of the drug used to reverse opioid overdoses. But, Nearhoof did leave with information about how to get it.

“It affects everyone," she said of opioid addiction. "It’s not just poor people or bad people. It’s everybody and anybody.”

That includes her family.

“It’s hell. It truly is hell," Nearhoof said. "It is definitely the devil’s drug.”

Danielle Dormer at the WPSU studios.
Min Xian / WPSU

This episode of Take Note is part of "State of Emergency: Searching for solutions to Pennsylvania’s opioids epidemic." State of Emergency is a combined effort of newsrooms across the state to draw attention to programs, therapies and strategies that are actually showing promise in the fight against this public health crisis.

AP Photo/MichaelRubinkam

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) — Colored bulbs cast an eerie blue glow in the restroom of a convenience store where people who inject heroin and other drugs have been seeking the relative privacy of the stalls to shoot up.

The blue lights are meant to discourage people from using drugs in store bathrooms by making it more difficult for them to see their veins. It's an idea that's been around for years but is getting a fresh look as a result of the nation's opioid epidemic.

The new Pennsylvania congressional map.
image: PA Supreme Court

(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania's drug overdose rate is more than twice the national average.

The opioid crisis is a focal point in the primary elections for the 12th Congressional District, which includes Centre, Mifflin, Clinton and Potter counties.

Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko is challenging GOP incumbent Tom Marino in Tuesday's primary.

He said Marino just isn't working for the people of the district.

Danielle Dormer at the WPSU studios.
Min Xian / WPSU

Danielle Dormer is a mother and Army veteran in long term recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. She uses her experience to help Penn State students, serving as the Assistant Program Coordinator for the Collegiate Recovery Community. She is also earning her Masters of Education in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling at Penn State, where she completed her undergraduate degree in 2017 earning a 4.0 GPA and the Outstanding Adult Student Award. She spoke with WPSU's Cheraine Stanford for Take Note. 

photo: Ted S. Warren for AP / Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania State University has announced it will start equipping on-campus officers with naloxone, an opioid overdose antidote.

Officers on its University Park Campus have been trained on how to administer the medication and how to recognize an overdose. The university says officers will start carrying the medication Friday.

Penn State police say they decided to join university paramedics in carrying the medication due to a higher demand in rural areas.