The Wright Center Hosts Roundtable Discussion: “Identifying Intergenerational Implications and Discovering Cross-Generational Solutions to Our Opioid Epidemic”

On Wednesday, May 2, The Wright Center hosted a community roundtable discussion focused on “Identifying Intergenerational Implications and Discovering Cross-Generational Solutions to Our Opioid Epidemic.” The panel of 25 stakeholders, including Pennsylvania Department of Aging Secretary Teresa Osborne, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller and Senator John Blake, convened at The Wright Center for Primary Care Mid Valley, Jermyn.

President and CEO of The Wright Center, Dr. Linda Thomas, moderated the discussion and two mothers openly shared stories with the panelists and the more than 50 individuals in attendance about the impact addiction has had on their family at all levels.

Additional panelists included community partners from the judicial system, local educational institutions and in-patient treatment centers, who discussed the unique intergenerational challenges related to opioid addiction and specifically touched on issues often unaddressed or stigmatized, such as opioid misuse in the elderly.

“At a point in life when most older Pennsylvanians are looking forward to more leisure time, many grandparents have found themselves parenting once again,” said Secretary Osborne. “The opportunity to gather with so many engaged community leaders to explore what can be done to assist our grandfamilies is incredibly helpful as we commit ourselves to ensuring all grandparents succeed and every child thrives.”

“The realm of addiction and the best intended responsive solutions are fraught with stereotypes, and our nation’s opioid crisis is no exception. Coming together as a nation and as local communities, not to lament, but to actively generate collective solutions in interactive forums like this is exceptionally powerful. We were privileged to host Governor Wolf’s Cabinet as they courageously step into our shared local and national challenge and focus on activating sustainable, cross-generational solutions. When we all lean in as a community, ask the admittedly hard questions and keep our conversations inclusive and centered in the spirit of recovery and, even more importantly, prevention, I am certain that we will make measurable steps towards combating the stigma and reality of addiction, while we put urgent focus on ending our nation’s deadly battle with opioid misuse,” stated Dr. Thomas-Hemak.

Panelists included:

  • Teresa Osborne, Pennsylvania Department of Aging
  • Teresa Miller, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services
  • Stacy Sanders, Office of Senator Bob Casey
  • Senator John Blake
  • James Gavin, Community Care Behavioral Health
  • David Loveland, Community Care Behavioral Health
  • John Cosgrove, AllOne Foundation and Charities
  • Jason Kavulich, Lackawanna County Agency on Aging
  • Jeremy Yale, Lackawanna and Susquehanna County Department of Human Services
  • Barbara Durkin, Lackawanna/Susquehanna Office of Drug and Alcohol Programs
  • Judge Vito P. Geroulo, Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas
  • District Attorney Mark Powell, Lackawanna County
  • Carl Halkyer, Northeast Pennsylvania Rainbow Alliance
  • Dominic Vangarelli, Geisinger Marworth
  • Bob Friedman, Geisinger Marworth
  • Jennifer Joyce, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
  • Ellen Walko, Wright Center Board Member and Community Health Advocate
  • Susan McDonald, Misericordia University
  • Eric Pusey, Medicap Pharmacy
  • Bruce Lefkowitz, Harrold’s Pharmacy
  • Bruce Beauvais, Pennsylvania Ambulance
  • Kathy Coyne, Telespond Senior Services
  • Edward Heffron, Scranton Counseling Center
  • Perry Meadows, Geisinger Health Plan
  • Laureen Cummings, Lackawanna County

Following the roundtable, The Wright Center hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house to celebrate its newly renovated and expanded behavioral health wing. The remodeled wing was designed to promote integrated healthcare within a primary care setting with a focus on resilience and recovery.

Governor Wolf’s statewide opioid disaster declaration expands access to evidence-based medication-assisted treatment to help Pennsylvanians that suffer from the disease of addiction and ensure they have access to the care they need. Pennsylvanians looking for information on treatment for themselves or a loved one can call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) toll-free, 24/7 to be connected to resources in their community. A live chat option is also available online or via text message at 717-216-0905 for those seeking help who may not be comfortable speaking to a helpline operator.

To learn more about The Wright Center’s Center of Excellence program, designed to help those with opioid-related substance use disorder stay in treatment, receive follow-up care and find support within their communities, visit www.thewrightcenter.org/COE.

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