May 09, 2016 SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Round-Up, Substance Use Disorder, The Blog Governor Wolf continued to conduct roundtables across the state to discuss the current opioid abuse epidemic with events in Bedford, Pittsburgh, and Indiana late last week. The roundtables were attended by state lawmakers, local officials, law enforcement, and health care professionals and are part of Governor Wolf’s plan to combat heroin and opioid abuse in Pennsylvania.The governor considers hosting these events an opportunity to create a larger discussion between state lawmakers and local officials. “I look forward to continue working collaboratively with the General Assembly and community leaders to ensure Pennsylvania leads the nation in the fight to combat the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic,” said Governor Wolf.Governor Wolf has proposed that the 2016-17 budget provide more than $34 million for the creation of treatment programs and 25 new treatment facilities statewide that would have the capacity to help 22,500 individuals who suffer from substance abuse disorder.Take a look at the roundtable coverage below:Post-Gazette: Gov. Wolf looks for answers in Homewood to opioid crisis“Some people in the prison system shouldn’t be in the prison system,” Mr. Wolf agreed. “They should be in treatment.” Mr. Wolf’s administration has made the anti-overdose drug naloxone more widely available, added drug take-back boxes for unneeded medication, improved funding for rehabilitation and started toward creation of a prescription database, opioid prescribing guidelines and more cautionary education about narcotics in medical schools, the governor noted. The naloxone alone has saved 800 lives so far, he said.TribLive: Pennsylvania Governor urges rehab over prison to quell opioid epidemicThe criminal justice system should ease punishments for nonviolent drug offenders as part of a broader effort to curb Pennsylvania’s opioid epidemic, Gov. Tom Wolf said Thursday during a roundtable discussion with elected officials and health care professionals in Pittsburgh. “We can’t arrest our way to success,” Wolf said. “We have to recognize that some people in the prison system shouldn’t be in the prison system.”TribDem: Governor visits region in search of solutions to statewide drug problemSo far, Wolf has held a handful of roundtable discussions to get input from local leaders about what can be done to provide help for drug addicts and turn around the staggering numbers of overdose deaths in the state, with 2,500 reported in 2014. “The state can do a good job in terms of creating the framework for addressing the issue, but every locality has its own unique needs,” Wolf said. “We need to learn what those needs are at the local level and how we can make sure we can build in the flexibility at the state level.”Indiana Gazette: Gov. Wolf convenes panel on opioid epidemic[Governor]Wolf, a Democrat, and [House Majority Leader] Reed and [Senator] White, both Republicans, spent most of the hour-long session taking suggestions for more ways to make the fight successful. “We actually are here to listen,” Wolf said. “There are times we disagree on some things but, on this, we are in absolute agreement that we have a problem in Pennsylvania and we need to get our arms around it. “Altoona Mirror: Wolf seeks to stem drug abuse“This is a problem throughout Pennsylvania, not just one corner,” Wolf said. “Every segment of the population is facing this.” He’s set for a roundtable talk this morning in Bedford, one of many such meetings on the issue he has held throughout the state. Heroin and painkiller abuse have spurred bipartisan action across the country, especially in the Northeast, where officials in some states have declared public health emergencies.Tribdem: Chip Minemyer: Too many moms feeling sting of heroin’s impactIn a phone conversation with me on Tuesday, [Governor] Wolf admitted that pushing opioids out of Pennsylvania’s communities will be neither easy nor quick. Wolf met with Bedford County leaders on Thursday, the latest stop in a statewide series of meetings on opioids. Wolf noted that in 2014, more Pennsylvanians died of drug overdoses than in automobile crashes. “This is something I first learned about in Johnstown during my campaign,” Wolf said of the widespread impact of heroin and other drugs. “This is affecting all corners of the state and all segments of the population.”Fox 8: Governor Wolf at Bedford County Library (video) By: Eryn Spangler, Press Assistant Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf BLOG: Governor Wolf Continues Statewide Opioid Roundtable Tour in Western PA (Round-up)
Students from the USC School of Social Work got together Thursday to air their grievances against their administration for abruptly changing the time and venue of their graduation ceremony, after an e-mail was accidentally sent to students by Dean Marilyn Flynn announcing the change.Tension · Gwendolyn Jones (left), Donny Hang (center) and Benjat Khani talked about the unfairness of the change in the graduation time and place. – Jennifer Schultz | Daily Trojan The ceremony has been moved from 6 p.m., Friday, May 13 at the Shrine Auditorium, to 2 p.m. in an outside tent on campus to accommodate Jewish students and faculty who wish to observe Shabbat, a weekly day of rest beginning at sundown on Fridays.Flynn’s e-mail, which was not supposed to go to students, stated that the School of Social Work did not originally “choose this option, because it is not air-conditioned, the sound is not particularly good, and it is simply less attractive from a ceremonial point of view.”When students at the School of Social Work saw the e-mail, many were outraged.“I respect Shabbat, but at the same time other religious events need to be taken into consideration as well,” said Danny Hang, a graduate student earning a dual degree from the School of Social Work and Davis School of Gerontology.Students said they are not as upset about the change in venue or time as they are about the lack of equality for all students at a secular institution.“I understand that point of view,” Flynn said, “But I would also say that in a very diverse school we have a lot of hard decisions to make. This is my decision. This is how I decided to resolve the conflict as I understood it. Not everybody will agree with that, but that’s my perception and that’s my decision.”Administrators, including Hillary Chisum, director of Special Events and Suh Chen Hsiao, director of Student Affairs, attended a graduation committee meeting yesterday to speak to students personally about the change. A subsequent meeting will be held March 1 between students and Flynn.The e-mail was simply a mistake that should not have happened, Flynn said.“I certainly understand [the anger,]” Flynn said. “I’m going to be meeting with the students on March 1 so I can certainly apologize for the abruptness of the change.”Though students are upset that their input wasn’t considered, Flynn maintains that students have been very involved in the graduation ceremony process.“We have one of the most involved student groups in the nation, and especially compared to most student groups on campus,” Flynn said. “Anybody can serve on the [graduation] committee if they want to and that committee has been planning for graduation since last year, so students have definitely been involved in that component.”Flynn encouraged students who have been especially inconvenienced to speak to her personally.“I haven’t yet sent a formal announcement to the students; I certainly will be letting them know directly about the change,” Flynn said. “If any student has been inconvenienced, they can meet with me and we can talk about it.”But students were left unsatisfied after yesterday’s one-hour meeting with school administrators.“Nothing was resolved,” said Alberto Lopez, a senior receiving his masters in social work. “No questions were answered.”Valerie Ayala, a senior receiving her master’s degree, agreed.“[Chisum] was very understanding,” Ayala said, “[The administration] did make a very unilateral decision, but it is about consistency.”Students with dual degrees are also worried because the ceremony’s time change to 2 p.m. might force them to decide which ceremony to go to. For example, the Gould School of Law is hosting its graduation ceremony at 3:30 p.m.“The original time was chosen especially so students can attend both graduations,” Hang said. “Now we have to pick which to go to.”Flynn said students will still receive an unlimited number of tickets for guests and remains confident that the tent will adequately house the ceremony.“I think we’ll have a good graduation experience,” she said.