Waynesburg University hosted its second annual “Creating Change in Communities: Navigating Resources,” a networking event sponsored by the Southwestern PA Drug and Alcohol Prevention Network, Thursday, Oct. 17. The event took place in the Goodwin Performing Arts Center on Waynesburg’s main campus from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
“The Networking event sponsored by the Western Pennsylvania Prevention Network [served as] an opportunity for community leaders and service providers in the drug and alcohol field to learn more about the variety of community resources available in our region,” said Dr. James Hepburn, professor of psychology and program director of the Master in Arts in Counseling Program and Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Education Program. “I thought the conference was quite informative.”
The overall tone was optimistic as there were statistics indicating a decrease in opioid-related deaths, increased awareness of alcohol and drug use problems among teens and effective strategies used by law enforcement to decrease the flow of drugs into the country."
The event not only connected individuals to different agencies and professionals, but provided educational presentations regarding prevention and treatment of addiction.
“A large part of drug and alcohol awareness comes from learning about the services that are available. The Western Pennsylvania Prevention Network event also provides opportunities to share ideas and learn about the innovations that are occurring through the creative approaches to prevention and treatment,” Hepburn said. “Last year’s event was more intentional in providing an educational component regarding the specific concerns of addiction in our region.”
This year, attendees learned about the Pennsylvania Youth Survey; substance abuse issues in Fayette, Greene and Westmoreland counties; and topics dealing with e-cigarettes/vaping, opioids and current drug trends.
“The event this year included presenters whose families were negatively impacted by opioid addiction and overdose,” said Hepburn. “The overall tone was optimistic as there were statistics indicating a decrease in opioid-related deaths, increased awareness of alcohol and drug use problems among teens and effective strategies used by law enforcement to decrease the flow of drugs into the country.”
In addition, Waynesburg offered PCB and NBCC credits for counselors, which were available through the University’s Graduate and Professional Studies Counseling Program. Educators also earned PDE credits for attending.
The event marked Hepburn’s third prevention network and the University’s second year in a row as host. Hepburn said he was very excited for Waynesburg to have the opportunity to host this event for the second year in a row.
“Following these networking events, I find myself feeling more hopeful and grateful about the work that many people are doing to stem the epidemic of addiction in southwestern Pennsylvania,” said Hepburn.