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Department of Health Partners with Saint Joseph’s University, University of Pittsburgh to Provide First Responder Education and Training

08/28/2020

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health today announced partnerships with Saint Joseph’s University and the University of Pittsburgh’s Program Evaluation and Research Unit to provide education and training to first responders across the state. Training will be provided on the topics of substance use disorder, the use of naloxone, and stigma and implicit bias to help groups continue to respond to the opioid epidemic.

“We are excited to partner with Saint Joseph’s University and the University of Pittsburgh to provide vital education and training to those responding to the opioid epidemic,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “The opioid epidemic continues to impact many Pennsylvanians across the state. This is why it is so important that we continue to provide the proper resources to those responding to this epidemic so we can keep our residents safe and create a healthy Pennsylvania for all.”

Saint Joseph’s University will receive $1.2M from the department through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Overdose Data to Action Grant, and University of Pittsburgh will receive nearly $2.8M from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) First Responders-Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. The funds, directed from grants from the CDC and SAMHSA to the commonwealth, will be used to train those responding to the opioid epidemic on several important areas, including substance use disorder, naloxone and stigma.

Training will be provided at no cost to first responders including local law enforcement, emergency medical services providers, firefighters and related public safety professionals who have regular contact with individuals in need of help. This includes prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys, judges, probation and parole officers and correctional officers.

The department plans to convene an Advisory Council in the fall to oversee and coordinate these trainings. Agencies interested in receiving this education can email ra-dhfr@pa.gov.

For more information on the opioid epidemic, visit the Department of Health website at www.health.pa.gov or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Nate Wardle, ra-dhpressoffice@pa.gov

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