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U.S. Attorney for Western Pennsylvania Convenes Working Group on Addiction: Prevention, Intervention, Treatment and Recovery

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 17, 2014

PITTSBURGH – David J. Hickton, United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, today announced that he has convened a group to develop and implement solutions to Western Pennsylvania’s opiate overdose epidemic.

The U.S. Attorney’s Working Group on Addiction: Prevention, Intervention, Treatment and Recovery will bring together citizens, parents and those in recovery with physicians, providers and regional leaders to prevent opiate overdoses and deaths throughout Western Pennsylvania. Specifically, individuals who have direct experience with addiction and specialists in the fields of public health, law enforcement, human services, pharmacology, drug treatment and recovery will make up the Working Group. The group had an initial meeting on April 7, and created three subcommittees to focus on Community Outreach/Education; Treatment; and Quality, Safety and Outcomes.

U.S. Attorney Hickton said, “We cannot prosecute our way out of the problem of opioid addiction. We need to better address the demand side of the problem by being more attentive to and understanding of addiction, treatment and recovery. Opiate overdoses affect all age groups, all ethnic groups, men, women, and children, and it is destroying lives and killing people. We cannot wait another day to combat this scourge on our communities.”

The Working Group will be co-chaired by Neil A. Capretto, D.O., F.A.S.A.M., Medical Director of Gateway Rehabilitation Center, and Michael Flaherty, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist. Working Group members currently include:

  • Jim Rohr, Executive Chairman, PNC, and former Chairman of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development;
  • Mike Zemaitis, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy;
  • Marc Cherna, Director, Allegheny County Department of Human Services;
  • Reverend DeNeise Welch, Bidwell Presbyterian Church;
  • Antoine Douaihy, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Psychiatry;
  • Fred Thieman, President, Buhl Foundation;
  • Sabato Anthony Stile, MD, Medical Director, UPMC Behavioral Health Associates;
  • Karen Hacker, MD, MPH, Director, Allegheny County Health Department;
  • Debra M. Kehoe, R.N. BSN, MsEd., Executive Director, The Pennsylvania Alliance for Safe and Drug Free Children;
  • James Schuster, MD, MBA, Chief Medical Officer, Community Care Behavioral Health Organization;
  • David McAdoo, Director, Southwest Behavioral Health Management;
  • Latika Davis-Jones, PhD, MPH, MSW, Administrator, Allegheny County Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services;
  • Carmen Carpozi, Founder, Sage’s Army; Parent Advocate – Education and Prevention;
  • Lucy Garrighan, CEO, Jade Wellness Center and Parent Advocate for Treatment;
  • Scott Golden, MD, VA Pittsburgh Health System; and
  • Robert Woolhandler, MD, Family Practitioner.

The group will be meeting on a regular basis, and is expected to issue interim recommendations within 60 to 90 days that will include an action plan for long-term reform.

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