Heroin/Opioid Crisis

Pennsylvania's Heroin/Opioid Crisis and the COVID-19 Pandemic


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HARRISBURG - The Center for Rural Pennsylvania Board of Directors, chaired by Sen. Gene Yaw, will hold a virtual public hearing on Thursday, February 11, beginning at 9 a.m., to learn more about COVID-19's influence on the heroin/opioid crisis in Pennsylvania. Preliminary data indicate that reported overdoses increased in rural Pennsylvania during the pandemic.

"The heroin and opioid crisis continues to devastate our residents and our communities, and the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the crisis in Pennsylvania," Sen. Yaw said. "In the first several months of the pandemic, overdose rates in our rural and urban communities increased. We want to know what has been happening throughout the state, and within our rural communities, to address the crisis in terms of law enforcement, outreach, treatment, and recovery."

Presenters scheduled for the public hearing are: Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro; Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Jennifer Smith; Pennsylvania Association of County Drug and Alcohol Administrators (PACDAA) Executive Director Michele Denk; Blair Drug and Alcohol Partnerships Executive Director and PACDAA Chair Judy Rosser; United Way of the Greater Susquehanna Valley President and CEO Joanne Troutman; and Liberty Mid-Atlantic High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Executive Director Jeremiah Daley.

In addition to Sen. Yaw, Center Board members are: Board Secretary Dr. Nancy Falvo, Clarion University of Pennsylvania; Board Treasurer Stephen Brame, Governor's representative; Sen. Katie Muth; Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski; Rep. Dan Moul; Dr. Timothy Kelsey, Pennsylvania State University; Dr. Catherine Koverola, University of Pittsburgh at Bradford; Shannon Munro, Pennsylvania College of Technology; Dr. Joseph Nairn, Northern Pennsylvania Regional College; Dr. Charles Patterson, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania; and Darrin Youker, Governor's representative.

The public hearing will be held via Zoom Webinar.