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South Central PA Opioid Awareness Coalition: A united front in the war against opioid and heroin abuse

Our Mission

To bring together health systems; hospitals; medical, dental and behavioral health providers; pharmacists; and health-care professional associations and organizations to address the opioid addiction and heroin crisis through awareness, education and action. View Coalition Fact Sheet.

Our Goals

We are committed to working together to keep our patients, their families and the community safe from prescription pain medication and heroin misuse and poisonings.

  • Foster coalitions and networks
  • Promote community education
  • Educate providers
  • Change organizational practices
  • Strengthen individual knowledge and skills

Opioid Misuse and Abuse

There have been recent changes to how opioid medications (Oxycodone, OxyContin® hydromorphone, fentanyl, morphine) are used to treat pain. Here’s why:

  • In 2015 in Pennsylvania, 10 people died each day due to drug poisoning from prescription opioid/heroin use
  • We now know opioids are not as effective or safe for treatment of chronic pain as once thought
  • Too many prescribed medications end up in the hands of those who are not the intended recipients—including our youth
  • It is impossible to know who may develop problems with these medications

Actions you can take:

  • Ask about non-opioid care for your pain
  • Lock up your medications at all times and safely dispose of left overs
  • Understand and share the fact that providers are now asking patients to sign a controlled substance agreement and undergo drug screenings to assist in keeping our community safe
  • Let your doctor or pharmacist know if you have concerns or problems with misuse of medication

Warning Signs For Overdose

When someone overdoses on opioids, immediate medical attention is critical. Call 911 if you notice any of the following signs:


Opioid pain patches on skin or needle in the body, along with a history of current heroin or opioid use




Slow/shallow respiration or no breathing


Snoring or gurgling sounds (due to partial upper airway obstruction)


Blue lips and/or nails


Pinpoint pupils


Clammy skin

Note: Individuals in cardiac arrest from all causes share many of the same symptoms as someone experiencing a narcotic overdose. If there is no pulse, begin CPR.


Naloxone Hydrochloride (Narcan®) is medication used to reverse opioid overdose.

The PA Department of Health provides a standing order to ensure that state residents who are at risk of an opioid-related overdose, or are family members, friends, or other in a position to assist an at-risk person, are able to obtain Naloxone.

Learn more at

News & Events

Governor declares statewide ‘disaster emergency’ for opioid and heroin epidemicJanuary 10 2018
Opioid Epidemic: What You Need to KnowJanuary 5 2018
Slippery Slope of Opioid UseDecember 15 2017
Physicians Must Do No Harm When Treating Chronic PainDecember 3 2017
Centers of Excellence in Pain EducationDecember 1 2017
Statement on the approval of a new formulation of buprenorphineNovember 30 2017

Addiction Resources in
South Central PA

If you or a loved one is looking for assistance to fight your substance abuse, refer to our county pages for local resource and organizations providing the help you need.

Our Partners & Supporters

Is your organization interested in joining the coalition?

Complete and submit the Coalition Application. Completed applications are reviewed monthly.