Understanding, recovering from addiction the focus of New Kensington programs
Substance abuse and addiction will be covered Tuesday in two separate programs at Westmoreland County Community College in New Kensington.
The programs are being held as part of the college’s observance of September as National Recovery Month. Both are free and open to the public.
“We want to have students and the community more informed on the topic of substance abuse, its effects on our communities and the support services available to help families that are dealing with someone who is addicted, or the individuals themselves,” campus Director Patrick Coulson said.
Ryan West, manager of corporate training and business development with Greenbriar Treatment Center, will speak on understanding the neuroscience of addiction from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the college at 1150 Fifth Ave.
In the evening, State Sen. Jim Brewster will be holding an open house on addiction from 6 to 8:30 p.m. It’s for those suffering from any form of addiction and their family, friends and neighbors and is also free and open to all.
The college has partnered with Greenbriar on programming looking at drug abuse and its impact on the community and individual since the fall of 2012, Coulson said.
Coulson said West’s presentation will look at how a person becomes an addict, and how a person overcomes addiction once they seek help.
“There’s a very big misunderstanding of what leads people to be addicted to a substance. They jump to the conclusion that someone is a junkie if they’re on heroin,” Coulson said. “When a lot of people get off opioid prescription pills, they resort to purchasing heroin and become a heroin addict. That was an eye opener for me.”
In the evening, Brewster’s open house will feature resources including a demonstration on administering the overdose-reversing drug Narcan, counseling and foster care services and safe prescription disposal bags.
Tim Joyce, Brewster’s chief of staff, said this is their first open house on the issue, but it will not be the last.
“What we’re hoping to do is give folks with substance abuse problems and their families a way to find out what help is available,” Joyce said. “We’re hoping to connect people with the resources that they can take advantage of and hopefully overcome their addictions.”
While many might be aware of Narcan, most have no idea how to actually use it or how it works, Joyce said. Those attending will be able to see how it’s used.
“We’re trying to give people as much information in a short time as possible,” he said. “The need is so great. This is a chance to bring people together and educate folks.”
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .