Joining members of the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute of Politics, U.S. Attorney David Hickton hailed the release of its “A Continuum of Care Approach: Western Pennsylvania’s Response to the Opioid Epidemic” as a new direction in attacking the growing abuse of opiates across Pennsylvania.
“This report is huge,” he said at an Oct. 5 press conference, but cautioned. “No single effort, no single report is a silver bullet. We simply need to be relentless in dealing with this problem.”
The report, crafted over a two-year period by a 75-member working group, makes a number of recommendations under three broad categories—prevention, treatment, and recovery/maintenance.
The report echoes the National Heroin Task Force findings that recommend integrating public health and public safety strategies, that those strategies are based on the understanding of addictions as chronic brain diseases that can be prevented and treated, and that visible community-based recovery supports must be available, accessible and affordable.
Institute for Politics Director Terry Miller said though the region has seen an explosion in opioid abuse, it is also blessed with the resources to address the issue.