University officials have established a drug addiction task force, in order to combat the Philadelphia area’s growing opioid crisis. The task force, made up of faculty as well as students, will analyze the universitie’s current offerings for drug and addiction support, and attempt to improve current Temple health resources.
The task force, sanctioned by Temple President Richard M. Englert and Provost JoAnne A. Epps, was established during Temple’s spring semester, but will not start their analysis until later this year.
“Though the university already has a number of resources in place, we felt it important to utilize the wealth of expertise available here to ensure we are doing all that we can for students.” President Englert said, when asked about the importance of the task force.
Amongst the team’s members are Professor of Surgery John Daly and professor of pharmacology Ellen Unterwald, along with at least 8 other students and staff members.
The task force’s primary concern is to “create a database of information on the extent of the problem of opioid and other substance misuse at colleges and universitie’s nationally and examine the ways other higher education institutions address the issues among their students” and later hopefully apply this knowledge to Temple’s own university resources.
Temple’s current addiction resources are offered primarily by the Wellness Resource Center and Tuttleman Counseling Services, but the team hopes to expand these resources as well as create new ones.
Recovery houses are just one of the options being considered by the team, and would give students struggling with addiction a safe and healthy place to stay in their attempts to recover.
According to Pew Research, Philadelphia county had the second highest overdose rate in the U.S. as of 2016, with 44 out of 100,000 residents suffering an overdose.
Temple’s task force and later changes to school policies aim to alleviate the strain that drugs place on many Philadelphia communities, and teams are hopeful that their efforts will assist in strengthening the Temple community against the rising threat of opiate addiction both on and off campus.
Students seeking assistance in dealing with any addiction related issues on or around campus are encouraged to reach out to the Wellness Resource Center at 215-204-8436.