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Opioid Epidemic Collaborative


Following the selection of Pittsburgh as a pilot site for the DEA 360 initiative in the fall of 2015, Dave Hickton, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, reached out to Chancellor Emeritus Nordenberg for assistance in addressing the opioid/heroin overdose epidemic in Western Pennsylvania.  Around the same time, Deans Kroboth and Burke from the School of Pharmacy and the Graduate School of Public Health, respectively, also reached out to the Institute regarding the interdisciplinary work on the heroin opioid epidemic in which they were already engaged.

In response, the Institute of Politics convened a small group of University of Pittsburgh researchers as well as the directors of the Allegheny County Health Department and Department of Human Services for a meeting with Attorney Hickton and DEA Special Agent in Charge Gary Tuggle.  In this early meeting, Hickton and Tuggle discussed their public safety efforts to address the crisis, and the Pitt researchers did the same on the public health side.  It was determined that the researchers were doing great work, but that all parties would benefit from greater coordination and more strategic alignment between “public health and public safety efforts.”  The Institute was asked to serve as a convener for the group of researchers and others who would work together to develop and implement a comprehensive education and intervention strategy in the coming year.

In January 2016, the Institute began to convene primarily University of Pittsburgh researchers in order to gain a better understanding of the research that was underway.  The group, titled the collaborative, met frequently throughout the first part of 2016.  Their activities and discussions served as the starting point for the Institute’s forthcoming report, A Continuum of Care Approach: Western Pennsylvania’s Response to the Opioid Epidemic.

A Continuum of Care Approach

Opioid Report

Click above to view the Institute's latest report, "A Continuum of Care Approach: Western Pennsylvania's Response to the Opioid Epidemic."

Additional Resources - a site operated by the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy Program Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU) designed to make resources, including data on overdoses, available to communities and the public at large

U.S. Attorney's Working Group on Addiction Final Report - released in September 2014

National Heroin Task Force Final Report - released in December 2015

Opiate-Related Overdose Deaths in Allegheny County - a report produced by the Allegheny County Health Department and the Allegheny County Department of Human Services

Heroin: Combatting this Growing Epidemic in PA - a report produced by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania that contains a summary of the information gathered through the Center's hearings on this issue across the commonwealth.

©2009 University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics