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News agencies work together to share solutions to the opioid crisis



Published 12:12, Saturday, June 30, 2018

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – More than 50 print, digital and broadcast news organizations highlight the diverse and sometimes unusual tactics used to combat the devastating effects of the opioid crisis across Pennsylvania. Smallest cities to the largest cities

One The aim of the media collaboration "Emergency: In Search of Solutions to the Opioid Crisis in Pennsylvania" was to ensure that communities in every part of the state know strategies, innovations and community efforts that help alleviate the crisis or at least be promising.

"Everyone has seen statistics on fatal overdoses, stories about EMTs that have repeatedly revived the same addict, the new, more dangerous drugs, we & # 39; have been reporting on this terrible epidemic for a long time," Cate said Barron of PennLive / The Patriot-News, one of the publishers who organized the effort.


The Pennsylvania Associated Press Media Editors and The Pennsylvania Society News Editors called newsrooms in April to document possible solutions and share their stories with all participants in the project.


"We Found Much to Provide Real Hope," Barron said

In 201

6, more than 2,200 Pennsylvanians died of opioid overdose, the fourth-highest rate in the US, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ,

Stories from nearly all 67 counties of the country, published or broadcast on Sunday show how authorities, businesses, first responders, families of victims and ordinary citizens are fighting the opioid crisis. Parents are turning their backs on deeds, the police are working to understand the addiction, and the counties are helping the convalescents to find meaningful work and keep families together.


In Lucerne County, Judy Provanzo founded a self-help group after her 22-year-old son Michael died of an overdose. A few weeks after their meetings, the women in the group decided that talking was not enough and they wanted to do something to keep the memories of their children alive and to help others who are suffering. They decided to fill backpacks with toiletries and heartfelt encouragement and donate to those who came to rehabilitation centers.

"On the day Mikey died part of me and his father died with him, I share this with you in the hope of helping you on your journey," states a note from Provanzo. "If you feel you're giving up, please think of Mikey and how my heart breaks when I do not have him, remember that you're loved, and you can do that one day."

In Columbia County, Berwick police officers are trying to help people with opioid dependence by treating them for treatment, even if they are acting against drug dealers.

"We are here to protect and serve," said Chief of Police Kenneth Strish. "That includes addicts."

A veteran Little League referee picks up the news about the dangers of opioids in Lycoming County. Barry Rake started his initiative last fall and has already distributed around 7,000 water bottles in the county, with the help of about a dozen volunteers. The plastic sports bottles carry the slogan "Too Smart to Start" and contain a message about drug abuse to parents.

A program in Somerset County seeks to help adults recover from addiction by finding meaningful employment. The Chamber of Commerce says the efforts also help meet the needs of employers who have shrunk in the face of the opioid crisis.

"These are people at a crossroads," said Ron Aldom, director of the County Chamber of Commerce. "In many cases, they're bright, college-educated people who are committed to turning their lives around." The idea behind Operation Hope Shot is, "Let's make them a commitment & # 39 ;."


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