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Schuylkill Haven LVH & Penn State organize free opioid education

Published September 04. 2019 01:02PM

In Pennsylvania, due to the opioid crisis, there are 80,000 grandparents who have custody of their grandchildren and are raising them.

Schuylkill District Attorney Mike O’Pake said that statistic is staggering.

“We can’t do this alone,” he said. “We’re going to do it together, as a team.”

Representatives from Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill and Penn State-Schuylkill announced an upcoming educational event, Opioids: The Crisis Next Door. The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 21 at Penn State-Schuylkill, University Drive, Schuylkill Haven.

“When Schuylkill County has an issue, we all band together,” Commissioner Gary Hess said. “It’s not just the young people, it’s all ages.”

The event will include speakers, panels and testimonials. Glenn Sterner, assistant professor of criminal justice, Penn State-Abington, will be the keynote speaker. He’ll be joined by District Attorney O’Pake, who will talk about current drug trends, and Diane Rowland, prevention services coordinator for the county’s drug and alcohol program, will talk about recognizing the hidden signs of drug abuse.

At the event, William Rowan, program director of LVHN’s Center for Counseling Services, will explain counseling and resources. And Dr. Gillian Beauchamp, LVHN emergency medicine, medical toxicology, will talk about integrated team approaches to recovery and wellness.

After the meeting, Rowland said that the opioid addiction issue affects all, not just those directly affected.

“If someone hasn’t been directly affected, it’s not important,” Rowland said. “But if they are affected, it rises to a top priority.”

“It doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” she added. “The only way to fight it is with everybody coming to the table.”

Elaine Gilbert, administrator, the county’s Drug & Alcohol Agency, said the event will be very positive.

“Education is an important step, and there is always more to learn,” Gilbert said. “This can affect anyone.”

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required. Attendees can register by visiting sl.psu.edu/opioidconference, emailing raw44@psu.edu, or calling 570-385-6102 or 570-621-4242.

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