U.S. attorney forms group to battle opiate problem

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A group of local people from the business, medical, governmental, religious and nonprofit communities has convened to take on the opiate overdose epidemic, U.S. attorney David Hickton announced today.

“We cannot prosecute our way out of the problem of opioid addiction,” Mr. Hickton said in a news release. “We need to better address the demand side of the problem by being more attentive to and understanding of addiction, treatment and recovery.”

Dubbed the Working Group on Addiction: Prevention, Intervention, Treatment and Recovery, the 18-member group first met April 7, and created subcommittees on community outreach, treatment and safety.

The group is co-chaired by clinical psychologist Michael Flaherty. It includes James Rohr of PNC Financial Services Group, representatives of the University of Pittsburgh, UPMC, Allegheny County, the Bidwell Presbyterian Church, the Buhl Foundation, and advocacy groups including Sage’s Army, the Pennsylvania Alliance for Safe and Drug Free Children, the Jade Wellness Center, the Veterans Administration and several behavioral health organizations.

Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.

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