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ICYMI: Pennsylvania Department of Health offers training to tackle changing overdose epidemic


Harrisburg, PA - The Shapiro Administration recently added new tools to help health care providers and public safety professionals across the Commonwealth battle the overdose and opioid crisis.


The Department of Health launched new training opportunities to help prevent unintentional drug overdoses. These online courses are offered at no cost and include continuing education credits for health care providers which may also meet various licensing requirements.


These trainings, resources and more information are available at the Department of Health’s website for health care providers and public safety professionals.

Read about how the Shapiro Administration is taking a public health approach to providing accessible treatment to Pennsylvanians suffering from substance use disorder (SUD):

KDKA-TV Pittsburgh: Pennsylvania Department of Health offers training to tackle changing overdose epidemic

By Jessica Guay

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The overdose crisis continues to change, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health is taking a new approach to tackling emerging issues.

The department is now offering training opportunities on up-to-date topics. This is just one part of the Shapiro administration's multi-agency response to address the opioid epidemic.

Pennsylvania's Acting Health Secretary Dr. Debra Bogen told KDKA-TV that the department wants to make sure everyone who encounters substance use in the commonwealth has the information they need to reduce the stigma and get on the path to recovery.

"About every two hours, someone in Pennsylvania dies of an overdose. A lot of that is opioid-related, including fentanyl and other issues," she said.

Countless people who work on the front lines of Pennsylvania's overdose crisis now have more tools to fight it.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is offering five new training opportunities. Dr. Bogen said the free virtual courses will give health care and public safety workers the tools they need to provide evidence-based care.

“We want to make sure everyone has access to quality with kindness and support," Dr. Bogen said.

She said each training module is geared toward certain populations of professionals. There's one for people who treat pregnant and postpartum women with opioid use disorder and another for people who work in emergency departments.

"To increase their knowledge on key topics related to opioid use and harm reduction, linking people to care, reducing stigma, prescribing people buprenorphine, which is a very effective treatment for opioid dependents," said Dr. Bogen.

There also are training opportunities for child welfare professionals and dentists.

"Dentists are the most likely health care professionals to prescribe opioids to people who have never had an opioid exposure before," Dr. Bogen said.

According to Pennsylvania Department of Health data, there were 5,158 drug overdose deaths in 2022, down 4 percent from the year before. In Allegheny County, there were 692 overdose deaths in 2022, nearly 30 fewer compared to 2021.

"We still have a lot of work to do," Dr Bogen said.

She said the training the department provided in the past is still available, and she hopes the information in the new courses trickles down to better patient outcomes and saves lives.

"We need to address stigma so people can get to recovery and get the services they need. So, we have to reduce stigma. We also have to keep people up to date with what is new and changing in the crisis," she said.

If you or a loved one needs help finding substance use treatment or support, call the PA Get Help Now helpline at 1-800-662-4357. It's free and available 24/7. There are many resources across the commonwealth

"Reach out, talk to people and get the help you need," Dr. Bogen said.

Anyone can sign up for the new overdose prevention training opportunities, which are supported by funding from the CDC.

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