LATEST PROJECT NEWS

PA Public Media to broadcast Part 2 of award-winning statewide program

[PITTSTON, PA., March 14, 2019] — In the second program in an award-winning series, Pennsylvania’s Public Media networks will focus on children and families in “Battling Opioids: Part 2,” airing statewide at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 11. The television program will feature a 30-minute newsmagazine of stories from across the Commonwealth followed by a panel discussion that addresses the profound impact of the ongoing crisis on children.

View a 30-second preview here.

“This epidemic affects all generations of Pennsylvanians, from new babies to grandparents caring for grandchildren,” says Kathleen Pavelko, CEO of WITF in Harrisburg. “We want people to understand the effects, but also to know there is help for families caring for children.”

Battling Opioids is an initiative of Pennsylvania’s seven public media stations — WHYY (Philadelphia), WITF (Harrisburg), WLVT/PBS39 (Greater Lehigh Valley), WPSU (State College), WQED (Pittsburgh), WQLN (Northwestern Pennsylvania), and WVIA (Northeastern Pennsylvania). The stations create and share programming, convene community conversations about the opioid crisis, and direct people to state and local resources, including the state’s website, pa.gov/opioids, and 1-800-662-HELP hotline.

Battling Opioids will host a Twitter chat with family support organizations on Thursday, March 21 at 1 p.m. ET. Follow the conversation using the hashtag #PABattlingOpioids.

The April 11 newsmagazine will be followed by a 30-minute panel discussion featuring:

  • PA State Senator Gene Yaw (R-23), Chairman of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, which has held 14 public hearings on opioids since 2014.
  • Allyson Hopkins, a medical home care coordinator for Pediatric Practices of Northeastern Pennsylvania who runs the Grand Love support group for grandparents raising grandchildren.
  • Cammie Anderson, a certified prevention specialist and student assistant program trainer.
  • Jayme Ferry, prevention supervisor at Crawford County Drug & Alcohol Executive Commission and coordinator for Crawford’s Overdose Prevention Coalition.

The program is hosted by Paola Giangiacomo, award-winning host of WVIA’s television series Call the Doctor.

“The opioid epidemic calls for an unprecedented statewide response from public media,” says Tom Currá, President and CEO of WVIA Public Media northeastern Pennsylvania. “We want to complement the efforts of legislators and organizations to help families in our communities get the help they need.”

Battling Opioids has received major support from Geisinger and additional support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. To learn more, visit BattlingOpioids.org and follow @BattlingOpioids on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

How is the opioid crisis affecting Pennsylvania’s children and families?

On Thursday, March 21, 2019, at 1 p.m. ET, Battling Opioids will bring together experts for a Twitter chat titled, “Opioids & Families: Hope for Children of the Crisis.” The chat will highlight the effects of the ongoing epidemic on children–as well as the hope and resources that exist for families who are struggling.

The Twitter chat will help introduce the next phase of Battling Opioids programming, which centers families and children. Battling Opioids: Part 2 will air across Pennsylvania at 8 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, April 11.

Experts will join the chat from Pennsylvania organizations including the Center for Children’s Justice, the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, Asa’s Place (a pediatric recovery facility serving newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome and their mothers), Olivia’s House (a grief center serving children dealing with loss of loved ones), the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center, and Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia.

To take part in the discussion, follow @BattlingOpioids (Twitter.com/BattlingOpioids) and the hashtag #PABattlingOpioids. If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can search the hashtag on Twitter and follow the discussion without logging in.

About Battling Opioids
Battling Opioids is a collaborative, multi-media effort of Pennsylvania’s Public Media stations to connect residents to state and local opioid prevention and treatment resources, encourage public conversation about the opioid crisis, and reduce the stigma of opioid use disorders. Participating stations include WHYY in Philadelphia, WITF in Harrisburg, WLVT/PBS39 in the Greater Lehigh Valley, WPSU in State College, WQED in Pittsburgh, WQLN in Northwestern PA, and WVIA in Northeastern PA.

On December 13, 2018, Battling Opioids hosted its first Twitter chat, “Hope for the Holidays: Families, Opioids and Recovery.” Now, you can read it on Wakelet and learn about strategies and resources for families and individuals dealing with opioid use disorder over the holidays.
The chat featured experts from Pennsylvania organizations including the Substance Use Disorders Institute at University of the Sciences, The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania, and Compass Mark; and from national organizations including Young People in Recovery, Faces and Voices of Recovery, and the National Center for Integrated Behavioral Health at the University of Pennsylvania. Take a look! We hope these insights and advice can help you or someone you know. 

A few highlights:

On Thursday, December 13, 2018, at 1 p.m. ET, Battling Opioids will bring together experts for a Twitter discussion on SUD/addiction, people in recovery, and more. “Hope for the Holidays: Families, Opioids and Recovery” will explore how the holidays can be particularly difficult for people in recovery and their families, and share strategies and resources for coping.

Experts will join the chat from Pennsylvania organizations including the Substance Use Disorders Institute at University of the Sciences, The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania, and Compass Mark; and from national organizations including Young People in Recovery, Faces and Voices of Recovery, and the National Center for Integrated Behavioral Health at the University of Pennsylvania.

To take part in the discussion, follow @BattlingOpioids and log on using the hashtag #PABattlingOpioids. Those who don’t have a Twitter account can search the hashtag on Twitter and follow the discussion without logging in. Follow us: Twitter.com/BattlingOpioids.

About Battling Opioids
Battling Opioids is a collaborative, multi-media effort of Pennsylvania’s Public Media stations to connect residents to state and local opioid prevention and treatment resources, encourage public conversation about the opioid crisis, and reduce the stigma of opioid use disorders. Participating stations include WHYY in Philadelphia, WITF in Harrisburg, WLVT/PBS39 in the Greater Lehigh Valley, WPSU in State College, WQED in Pittsburgh, WQLN in Northwestern PA, and WVIA in Northeastern PA.

A rebroadcast of the news magazine Battling Opioids: Part 1 will air on the PA public media stations December 20, 2018 at 8 p.m. starting with a panel discussion on opioid policy and recovery.

Learn more at www.BattlingOpioids.org, or follow Battling Opioids (@BattlingOpioids) on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

On Friday, October 12, 2018, Battling Opioids attended the Pennsylvania Conference for Women. We presented a panel discussion, “Women and the Battle Against Opioids,” featuring WQED Pittsburgh President/CEO Deb Acklin, Emmy-winning WQED producer Beth Dolinar (producer of “Broken: Women-Families-Opioids“) and Penn Medicine emergency medicine physician/researcher Dr. Jeanmarie Perrone. The panel was livestreamed and is available to watch on Facebook.

Pennsylvania Public Media staff manned our event booth, speaking with attendees and distributing information along with opioid medication deactivation pouches.

Watch the “Women and the Battle Against Opioids” panel discussion here.

On Tuesday, September 25 at 4 pm in the Ryan Office Building Rotunda, state officials and legislators joined Pennsylvania Public Media for a preview of the Battling Opioids documentary and an introduction to the people behind and in front of the camera–as well as updates on legislative and state efforts to combat the opioid crisis. You can watch the event here. The event featured the following speakers:

Representatives from Pennsylvania’s Public Media stations attended the PRO-ACT Recovery Walk in Philadelphia the morning of September 22, 2018. The nation’s largest walk for substance abuse and mental health recovery, the Recovery Walk is attended by more than 20,000 people each year (27,000 walked in 2017), including people in recovery, their loved ones, and advocates. PRO-ACT is a program of The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania, Inc.

Statewide broadcast September 27 to address stigma, offer stories of hope

In one of the states hit hardest by the opioid crisis, public media is bringing people together to fight back.

Seven public media stations from across Pennsylvania — WHYY (Philadelphia), WITF (Harrisburg), WLVT/PBS39 (Greater Lehigh Valley), WPSU (State College), WQED (Pittsburgh), WQLN (Northwestern PA) and WVIA (Northeastern PA) — have banded together in Battling Opioids, a project to create and share programming, convene community conversations about the opioid crisis, and direct people to state and local resources and information on where to get help.

“Battling Opioids, A Project of Pennsylvania Public Media” will air at 8pm Sept 27 across the networks, and will feature a 60-minute documentary to which all stations contributed. It will be followed by a live panel discussion. The program is hosted by award-winning journalist Paola Giangiacomo, host of WVIA’s television series Call the Doctor.

View a 30-second preview here.

Stations are convening related watch events and community conversations across the state this month, including a program for legislators in Harrisburg on Sept 25.

“Our stations’ demographics across the state may differ, but the opioid crisis affects all of us,” said Kathleen Pavelko, President and CEO of WITF. “By pooling our resources, we can leverage the educational and civic opportunities that public media offers to solve statewide challenges like this.”

“As public media, we have a unique ability to both raise awareness through our reporting and to convene public forums for dialogue,” said Tom Currá, President and CEO of WVIA. “We are committed to doing our part to reverse the epidemic by educating the public on how opioid addiction happens while at the same time reducing the stigma that prevents people from seeking help.”

In January 2018, Governor Tom Wolf issued a disaster declaration for Pennsylvania’s “heroin and opioid epidemic” — the first such declaration for a man-made disaster. Provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated there were 5,655 drug overdose deaths in Pennsylvania in the 12-month period leading up to December 2017 — more than 15 per day — most of them from opioids. Pennsylvania’s state government has set up a clearinghouse website and hotline [1-800-662-HELP] for anyone who wants to give or get help.

The Battling Opioids initiative began in March 2018 with stations running specific programming focused on the opioid crisis, and continues to grow. A new website, BattlingOpioids.org, helps direct people to state resources and keep them informed of project news and local events. Battling Opioids has received major support from Geisinger and additional support from The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

“Many Pennsylvanians want to know what they can personally do to address this crisis,” Pavelko said. “By connecting with Battling Opioids, everyone in the state can get involved to make a difference.”

To learn more about the Battling Opioids initiative and to view selected segments of the Sept 27 program, please visit www.BattlingOpioids.org and follow @BattlingOpioids on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

A crisis of unprecedented proportions is killing 10 to 16 Pennsylvanians every day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that number is rising every year. Against this backdrop, Pennsylvania’s Public Media is collaborating efforts to produce programming that focuses on the opioid crisis and the impact it is having. Listen to WITF’s Smart Talk podcast as the station kicks off Battling Opioids: A Project of Pennsylvania Public Media. The podcast features WITF President and CEO Kathleen Pavelko; Beth Dolinar, producer of Broken: Women • Families • Opioids; Keira McGuire, a producer with WITF Public Media’s Emmy award-winning news and information series, Health Smart; and Matthew Null, the Referral Development Manager for the Central Region of Gaudenzia.

Reporting From Pennsylvania Public Media

Selected reporting from Pennsylvania Public Media about the opioid crisis.

WITF | 12.27.2018

Stories we followed in 2018: Fighting back against opioid addiction

WHYY News | 12.24.2018

Fatal opioid overdoses expected to dip in Philly for first time in 5 years

WHYY News | 12.14.2018

Pennsylvania leading the way in making addiction treatment more available

WITF | 12.14.2018

State mulls more naloxone handouts after strong demand

WITF | 12.11.2018

Updated Pa. guidelines: All ERs should treat addicted patients with medication

WPSU | 12.06.2018

Free Naloxone Available Across Pennsylvania Dec. 13

WHYY News | 11.30.2018

Pa. getting $10 million under first Bloomberg grant to combat opioid addiction

WHYY News | 10.12.2018

Wolf administration adds funds for families hit by opioid crisis

WHYY News | 10.08.2018

As Philly moves closer to supervised injection site, Gov. Wolf remains opposed

WHYY News | 10.02.2018

Former Gov. Ed Rendell says ‘arrest me first’ for backing supervised injection facility

WPSU | 09.28.2018

One Felony Drug Charge Is On The Rise In Pa., But There's Debate Whether It Deters Opioid Use

WPSU | 09.27.2018

'Drug Court Changed My Life.' Counties Turn To Courts As One Way To Battle Opioids

WHYY News | 09.27.2018

Former Philly sportscaster Don Tollefson tries his hand helping others seek addiction treatment

WITF Transforming Health | 09.24.2018

In Tamaqua, coffee house aims to help those recovering from addiction

WHYY | 08.13.2018

Don’t call people ‘addicts,’ Penn researchers say

WITF | 07.31.2018

Multi-pronged approach helps Armstrong Co. buck the trend in OD deaths

WITF | 07.30.2018

Doctors change prescribing practices to decrease opioid addiction

WITF | 07.24.2018

Recovering addict prints resource cards for pharmacies to give out

WITF | 03.28.2018

Heroin addiction robs Lancaster County family of son

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James A. Donnelly
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