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UPMC Susquehanna Hosts Physician General to Address Opioid Crisis

by UPMC Susquehanna

With opioid and substance abuse reaching epidemic levels nationwide, UPMC Susquehanna is committed to educating the community about the steps they can take to be part of the solution.

Coming together to shine a spotlight on the problem, Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine, Senator Gene Yaw, Little League President & CEO Steve Keener, and UPMC Susquehanna’s Director of Behavioral Health Dr. Cheryl Stayton hosted a special media event on March 24 at Williamsport Regional Medical Center to raise awareness of the Physician General’s standing order for naloxone.

Naloxone is a medication which can reverse an overdose when administered quickly and correctly, empowering family and friends to act in the critical juncture before emergency professionals arrive. Dr. Levine also emphasized the importance of med return boxes like those found at the UPMC Susquehanna pharmacy to dispose of unused or expired medication.

Pennsylvania leads the nation in overdose deaths in men ages 12 to 24, and Lycoming County saw a 40-percent increase in overdoses in 2015 over previous years. “Our emergency room now averages two to three visits per day related to overdose. To truly stop this epidemic and ensure all patients receive the treatment they need, it takes a cultural shift in the de-stigmatization of addiction and in healthcare’s approach to pain management,” explains Dr. Stayton.

UPMC Susquehanna is addressing the issue locally through system goals regarding prescribing guidelines, physician training, early intervention, med return boxes, and co-founding regional task forces like Project Bald Eagle.