Dear Pitt Faculty and Staff:
In 2014, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania David Hickton (who now serves as the founding director of our Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security) initiated a working group to develop and implement solutions to the region's raging opioid epidemic.
Shortly thereafter, our Institute of Politics partnered with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and produced a report—A Continuum of Care Approach: Western Pennsylvania's Response to the Opioid Epidemic—that cataloged our region’s current response to the opioid epidemic and captured ideas on how we, as a community, could better address this issue moving forward.
The report clearly illustrates the tragic impact of this crisis, especially on young adults. Consequently, in February 2018, I asked Provost Patricia E. Beeson to form a working group tasked with examining the report’s findings and identifying how these findings could be applied to our university community. This group was chaired by Chancellor Emeritus and Chair of Pitt's Institute of Politics, Mark Nordenberg, and included a parent and students along with experts from our Schools of the Health Sciences, student affairs, campus security, regional campuses and UPMC.
Earlier this month, the group concluded their review and generated a new report, Opioid Use Disorder: Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery, that outlines more than two-dozen recommendations tailored to our university community. These proposed actions, some of which are already underway, involve all Pitt campuses and span six major categories: surveys and screening, prevention, treatment, recovery, campus policing, and monitoring and measuring.
The University of Pittsburgh has already begun addressing some of the recommendations articulated in the working group’s report. Once fully implemented, this approach will stand as one of the most comprehensive frameworks for preventing, confronting and abating opioid use and abuse in a college environment.
I want to thank Chancellor Emeritus Mark Nordenberg and all of the members of the working group for their efforts. Their report and recommendations will serve as the basis for meaningful and beneficial change in the lives of our students and in the midst of this national crisis.