Penn State collaborates with state and local partners via our 24 geographically dispersed campuses and 67 cooperative extension offices to leverage our vast scope of researcher-practitioner experience to support, inform, and improve programs across the life-cycle of diseases of addiction.

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Outreach and Service: Engaging with Individuals, Families and Communities

To combat the opioid epidemic, Penn State leverages partnerships with communities and organizations across the Commonwealth. With its geographic reach across the Commonwealth, including its 24 geographically dispersed campuses, Cooperative Extension Offices in every county, urban centers, and medical center and community clinics, Penn State is uniquely positioned to collaborate with local and state partners in efforts to identify community needs and to inform, support, and improve programs, practices and policies for substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery, as well as those targeting affected families and communities.

Medically Assisted Treatment

The Pennsylvania Coordinated Medication-Assisted Treatment (PacMAT) program, funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office, is creating a system to ensure that individuals in south central Pennsylvania with opioid use disorder receive the medically assisted treatment they need. [PI: Sarah Kawasaki]

WPSU Penn State

Penn State partners with Pennsylvania’s public broadcasters to raise awareness about the opioid epidemic. On the WPSU program “Take Note”, Danielle Dormer, an assistant program coordinator for the Penn State Collegiate Recovery Community, shared her personal experiences dealing with drug addiction and recovery and her thoughts on the opioid epidemic. (Opioid resource webpage once completed can also be included here.)

Dauphin County HOPE

Dauphin County HOPE is designed to foster understanding of opioid abuse for drug users and their families, treatment providers, organizations, potential donors, researchers, and the general public. Penn State Harrisburg teams with the Dauphin County Drug and Alcohol Services staff, its Advisory Board, and other community organizations to compile timely information and connect those seeking help with available resources. [Primary Contact: Michael Behney]

Collegiate Recovery Community

The Penn State Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) in the Office of Student Affairs at the University Park Campus, supports students in recovery from alcohol and other substance use disorders by providing support for major lifestyle changes, a commitment to help students in recovery achieve success at Penn State, and a community that reinforces healthful and sustainable habits of mind, body, and spirit. [Primary Contact: Jason Whitney]

Opiate Treatment Education

The Opiate Task Force and Stewardship Program, led by Penn State Health, provides patients with education on alternatives to opiate treatment. The task force also provides safe prescribing guidelines for the treatment of inpatients with a substance abuse disorder or dependence and provides transitional care clinic for opioid tolerant patients who undergo surgery at the Hershey Medical Center. [Primary Contacts: David Giampetro and Vitaly Gordin]

PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience (PROSPER)

In the PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience (PROSPER) Project, Penn State Cooperative Extension Educators implement prevention programs to reduce youth risky behaviors, particularly substance misuse and abuse. PROSPER has been operating in communities across Pennsylvania since 2001 to develop partnerships between Penn State researchers and local schools and community organizations in order to implement evidence-based prevention programs. PROSPER programs have been rigorously tested and have demonstrated their effectiveness in producing positive outcomes for youth, including lower levels of alcohol and substance use, including misuse of prescription drugs such as opioids, as well as improving academic engagement and achievement and reducing youth hostility, aggression, delinquency, anxiety and depressive symptoms. PROSPER programs promote skills and attitudes to build family harmony and parent-child communication and provide students abilities for planning, problem solving, and peer resistance against problem behaviors like substance misuse.

Heroin Overdose Prevention Technical Assistance Center

The EPISCenter is part of a partnership with the University of Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Heroin Overdose Prevention Technical Assistance Center (TAC) to support work on strategies to prevent overdose. The TAC provides information on overdose death rates and causes across Pennsylvania, conducts assessments with communities to identify strengths and challenges that impact efforts to reduce overdoses, and provides input on requests for proposals to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. [Primary Contact: Janet Welsh]