Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt Program to Help Officials Address Opioid Problem Training Sessions in 18 Counties

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt Program to Help Officials Address Opioid Problem Training Sessions in 18 Counties

Article excerpt

Over a decade ago, Dirk Matson came across a statistic in a newspaper that shocked him: In his home county, Westmoreland, 22 men and women had overdosed and died that year.

"These kinds of things happen in other places," he remembers thinking.

That was 2002. Today, Mr. Matson, who now serves as the county's director of human services, wishes he could go back to those times. In 2015, 126 Westmoreland residents died of an overdose.

Mr. Matson spoke Wednesday at a news conference at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. The School of Pharmacy's Program Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU) has collaborated with county officials in Westmoreland, as well as in Washington and Allegheny, to combat the opioid epidemic. On Wednesday, PERU announced plans to launch training sessions in 18 counties across the state seeking to address the epidemic.

Through collaboration with PERU, Westmoreland has set up prescription drug "take back" boxes, held community education events and distributed the anti-overdose drug naloxone, among other initiatives. …

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