Overcoming an Epidemic

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.

Grandmother pushing grandson on swing
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Transcript

Anne Danahy (Narrator) – Much of the discussion on the opioid epidemic focuses on the people most affected: the ones who are abusing opioids. That makes sense because their lives have been swept up by addiction. But, their families shoulder the impact of the opioid epidemic too.

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.

[Doorway knocking]

Suboxone is one of the medicines used as part of medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. Researchers say evidence-based treatments are still underutilized in the nation.
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.

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.