Rockview prison

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.

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. 

Prison inmates pruning oak tree
Anne Danahy / WPSU

On a recent day at the forestry camp at Rockview state prison, the focus was on tree pruning. Devin Ashe and other students took turns working on an oak tree.

“I didn’t know trees were as complex as they were, what they do for the environment, wildlife as well as humans,” Ashe said.