ShareThis Page
Regional

Local TV special will delve into opioids in Western Pennsylvania

Patrick Varine
| Friday, June 29, 2018, 10:15 a.m.
AP Photo
AP Photo

A former WPXI news producer, Sydni Goldman is deeply familiar with the heavy toll the opioid epidemic has taken on Western Pennsylvania.

“I remember when fentanyl started coming in, and when that was really hitting the area hard,” Goldman said. “It's still such a big topic that affects so many people.”

With that in mind, Goldman wanted to focus on the opioid epidemic while helping develop a summer series in her current job at Cornerstone Television Network.

“We wanted to create a program that can provide some support and hope for families who are dealing with it,” Goldman said.

“Real Answers: Opioid Addiction” will premiere at 8 p.m. July 20 on Cornerstone.

“Pennsylvania is in crisis; so many people are dying due to overdose. Now more than ever, we need to be talking about addiction and how the loved ones of those afflicted can help save their families,” said Don Black, president and CEO at Cornerstone, which is based in Wall, near Trafford.

Pennsylvania had the nation's fourth-highest rate of drug overdose deaths in 2016, acorrding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the United States, the overdose mortality rate has risen 21.5 percent from 2015 to 2016, with the numbers steadily climbing.

In Westmoreland County, 2017 marked nine straight years in which the number of deaths from overdose continuously rose.

The television special comes on the heels of a University of Pittsburgh study that discovered as many as 70,000 opioid-related deaths nationwide went unreported between 1999 and 2015 because of incomplete death certificate reporting by coroners and medical examiners.

Goldman emphasized addiction doesn't only impact the addict; it impacts his or her family, as well.

“Sometimes, families can enable their loved ones without even realizing they're doing it,” she said.

A panel of guests will discuss different aspects of the epidemic, including Pittsburgh-area Pastor J. Anthony Gilbert, who has a background in drug counseling; Bridge City Church North Braddock Campus Pastor Dan Perkins, who struggled with addiction issues when he was younger; and Brenda Goldman, founder of The Ambassador Program, a nonprofit in central Pennsylvania that provides free services to people and families struggling with addiction.

The panel will tackle topics including the signs of addiction, varieties of treatment plans and how families can offer support when a loved one is struggling with addiction issues.

“We'll also touch on relapse issues, and we'll do a live call-in segment for people to ask questions,” Goldman said. “It's really an interactive show, but our hope is to provide a voice for this and point people to some solutions.”

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, pvarine@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me