For decades, Temple has played a leading local role in researching the public health problem of substance abuse and addition. And with the increasing severity of the opioid addiction epidemic in the Philadelphia region, cross-disciplinary collaboration among Temple researchers is growing more quickly than ever before.
But the response at Temple goes far beyond research: a sustainable solution takes community collaboration, too. On November 19, Temple is hosting A Regional Response to the Opioid Crisis—a free, public, community-oriented symposium that aims to raise awareness around the epidemic, provide support for people facing addiction personally or in their families, show community members how they can get involved in combating the crisis, and let them know what law enforcement is doing to stop the flow of heroin and prescription painkillers into their neighborhoods. Click here to register.
Marsha Zibalese-Crawford, associate professor of social work in the School of Social Work, is working to organize the symposium with other experts from across the university, the community, and local government. Zibalese-Crawford has worked closely with the Philadelphia-Camden High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, the local arm of the federal program launched by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. She says Temple’s role as host of the symposium makes perfect sense because of its history of community involvement.
“Temple is a place where diverse people can come together,” she said. “Temple is not only for students, but also for the community – whether it’s the Health Sciences Campus, or School of Social Work, or the College of Public Health, we are all here to provide assistance, comfort, counseling, and other key resources that one might need through partnership and our open doors … for someone who may be in crisis, or for the community at large.”
Photography by Joseph V. Labolito.