Opioid Addiction and Overdose Crisis

Public Hearing on Strategies to Combat the Opioid Addiction and Overdose Crisis in Rural Pennsylvania


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HARRISBURG - The Center for Rural Pennsylvania Board of Directors, chaired by Sen. Gene Yaw, will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, February 16 at the State Capitol Building beginning at 9:30 a.m. to learn more about the strategies being used to combat the opioid addiction and overdose crisis in rural Pennsylvania during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hearing will also be held via Zoom.

"Unfortunately, during this pandemic, opioid overdoses and other drug-related deaths in Pennsylvania have been among the worst in the country," Sen. Yaw said. "This hearing will help us learn more about the strategies being used to help communities combat this on-going crisis and ensure that individuals battling substance use disorder, particularly those in our rural communities, are receiving the help and support they need."

Presenters scheduled for the public hearing are: Attorney General Josh Shapiro; Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Jennifer Smith; Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Meg Snead; City of Pittsburgh Overdose Prevention Coordinator Joshua Schneider; City of Pittsburgh Critical Communities Manager Laura Drogowski; Pittsburgh Poison Center and UPMC Health Plan Substance Use Disorder Services Medical Director Dr. Michael Lynch; Positive Recovery Solutions Founder and Chief Partnership Officer Amanda Marasti; Penn State Berks Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Dr. Jennifer Murphy; and Penn State College of Medicine Chief of the Division of Health Services and Behavioral Research and Professor of Public Health Sciences and Psychiatry Dr. Douglas Leslie.

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

The public hearing will be held in the Main Capitol Building, Room 8E-B EW, and via Zoom. Zoom attendees are asked to register in advance here .

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania is a bipartisan, bicameral legislative agency that serves as a resource for rural policy within the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The Center works with the legislature, educators, state and federal executive branch agencies, and national, statewide, regional and local organizations to maximize resources and strategies that can better serve Pennsylvania's nearly 3.4 million rural residents.


Christine Caldara Piatos, Communications Manager
Center for Rural Pennsylvania