WPSU to simulcast statewide production addressing heroin crisis in Pennsylvania

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Heroin use in Pennsylvania has reached epidemic proportions. Once thought to be found only in cities, these dangerous drugs are now readily available in rural and suburban neighborhoods, and young people are at particular risk.

On "Heroin: A Commonwealth Crisis," a panel of experts will explain what led to this deadly health problem and provide information on prevention and treatment. The 60-minute live show is interactive, taking viewers’ phone calls, emails and questions via Twitter. Viewers can join the conversation by calling 800-543-8242 during the show, emailing connect@wpsu.org or tweeting @WPSU.

Penn State Public Media will simulcast "Heroin: A Commonwealth Crisis" on WPSU-TV and FM in State College/Altoona/Johnstown, WQED-TV in Pittsburgh, WITF-TV and FM in Harrisburg, WLVT-TV in Bethlehem and WVIA-TV in Scranton at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 29. WQLN-TV in Erie will broadcast the show at 8 p.m. June 5. WYBE-TV and WHYY-TV in Philadelphia will also broadcast the production at a later date; check your local listings for details.

The panelists include Nancy Butts, president judge of the 29th Judicial District-Lycoming County, who presides over the county’s Drug Court, DUI (Driving Under the Influence) Court and Juvenile Drug Court. In September, she lead efforts to establish the Lycoming County Heroin Task Force, a community partnership whose goal is to educate citizens about prevention and treatment resources, and reduce drug-related crime through public education and law enforcement.

Ward Donovan is the chief of medical toxicology at the PinnacleHealth System in Harrisburg and a professor emeritus of Emergency Medicine at the Penn State College of Medicine. He has practiced and taught emergency medicine for 35 years, previously serving as medical director of the Toxicology Center at PinnacleHealth System, one of the busiest clinical toxicology services in the United States.

Joseph Troncale is the medical director of The Retreat of Lancaster County and has been a physician since 1979, working in the field of addiction medicine for the past 15 years. He was honored as one of Addiction Professional Magazine’s clinicians of the year in 2010. His interests include the proper treatment of mental health issues in the addicted patient and the neurobiology of addiction.

Rounding out the panel is Alison Turley, prevention coordinator at the Centre County Youth Service Bureau. She oversees prevention programing including AmeriCorps, Strengthening Families Program, community youth centers, street outreach programs, and drug and alcohol prevention programs both in schools and in the community.

Register to be a part of the studio audience at www.wpsu.org/heroincrisis.

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Last Updated May 23, 2014