7:30am – 9:00am: Registration and Breakfast
9:00am – 9:30am: Welcome and Opening Remarks
9:30am - 10:50 am: Plenary 1: Drug and Overdose Trend Update
Update On Drugs and Their Impact
Federal Drug Response Priorities
Impact on Pennsylvania’s Health
Trends in drug seizure and interdiction data
10:50am - 11:00am BREAK
11:am – 12:00pm: Panel Discussion: How can Pennsylvania improve its response to drug use and overdose trends in BIPOC communities?
12:00pm – 1:00pm: Networking Lunch
1:00pm – 2:15pm: Breakout Session 1
Room A/B - Xylazine: Partnerships to manage complications of xylazine use and linkage to treatment
Xylazine is spreading into Pennsylvania’s drug supply and with it comes new challenges for providers across systems of care: slower responses to overdose reversal, wound care, and changes to withdrawal and MOUD induction protocol. Developing a local strategy to respond to xylazine benefits from collaboration between health care, SUD treatment providers, and behavioral health MCOs. This model from Philadelphia will describe how they built these partnerships to ensure people who use xylazine have access to the level of care they need and that transition between different levels of care is coordinated in a way that maximizes retention in care.
Room C - Vending machines and other strategies for scaling up harm reduction supply distribution
Expanding access to tools like naloxone and drug testing strips is an important part of Pennsylvania’s strategy to reduce overdose fatalities. Reducing overdoses means getting these tools into the hands of people who need them most – people who use drugs. Join this panel of presenters to hear how your organization can order
supplies for your community, strategies to improve distribution to people at highest risk of an overdose and find out how some communities are using innovative strategies like vending machines to make these tools more accessible.
Room D - Strategies to Reach BIPOC Communities Where They’re At
To build off the morning plenary sessions, this breakout will describe proactive models of outreach and service delivery that are designed to meet the needs of BIPOC communities. A variety of settings and approaches are represented on this panel:
• Using overdose data by zip code to conduct targeted street outreach, bringing harm reduction tools to Black and Latino communities in North Philadelphia
• Training small business owners to deliver health messaging and resources in settings like barber shops and beauty salons, and
• A recovery house that addresses the intersectional needs of trans and non-binary people of color in recovery.
Room E - Ups and Downs of Peer Navigation in an Era of Drug Volatility
Peers play a critical, frontline role in outreach and linkage to care activities. As people with their own lived experience, they often have the knowledge and skills to build trust with people who are using drugs and support them in access to SUD treatment and other services. Being on the frontline, peers doing outreach and care
navigation are also among the first to observe changes in local drug markets. In this panel discussion, frontline workers will describe what changes they are seeing and describe how it is affecting their work. As people who have accessed SUD services and helped others access these services, they offer an important perspective on
what’s working and what could be improved to better address the latest trends in a volatile drug market.
2:15pm – 2:30pm: Break
2:30pm – 3:45pm: Breakout Session 2
Room A/B - Beyond Test Strips: Community Based Drug Checking to Monitor a Changing Drug Supply
PA Groundhogs was recently launched to offer free, street-to-lab drug checking services in an effort to anticipate overdose spikes before they happen and warn people who use drugs of high potency or adulterated supply. The new drug checking initiative employs mass spectrometry technology. With the data they collect, they will develop regional profiles of the Commonwealth’s illicit drug supply, identify hotspots, and proactively warn Pennsylvanians who use drugs about strong batches, new synthetic drugs, and dangerous adulterants. Come learn more about this new project and meet the team making it happen.
Room C - Public Health & SUD: The importance of integrating health and SUD services
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define syndemics as “a clustering of two or more social or health conditions within a population—such as viral hepatitis, HIV, and substance use disorder. Social and structural factors create conditions that lead these health conditions to cluster, or co-occur, within populations.” Integrating SUD and health services addresses syndemics by making care more convenient for people who use drugs. A panel of experts from the Department of Health will share data to show how health issues overlap with substance use and offer strategies for SUD providers to integrate health services and vice versa.
Room D - Improving Access to MOUD in an Era of Drug Volatility
Medication for opioid use disorder – or MOUD – offers an opportunity to expand access to SUD treatment by making it available in health care settings. This panel will discuss some of the challenges and opportunities of MOUD expansion including how a volatile and toxic drug supply impacts MOUD induction process and how to establish a training program to encourage medical providers to incorporate SUD care into their medical practice.
Room E - Strategies for Providing Women-Centered Care
Women-centered SUD services create spaces where women feel safe accessing care but where they can also get other, specialized women’s health services. For women of reproductive age, having these targeted services can be essential for making both SUD and reproductive health, and pre-natal care more accessible. The panelists will speak to services along the SUD treatment spectrum, from outreach to treatment and recovery.
3:50pm – 4:30pm: Closing Plenary & Town Hall
To close out the day, Carla Sofronski from the PA Harm Reduction network will be joined by someone who has experienced xylazine use. Their testimony will serve as a closing reminder of why our work is essential and how critical it is that services keep up with changes in the drug supply. Symposium participants will then be invited to share their key takeaways for the day and share feedback on the event. Finally, DDAP’s Deputy Secretary will close the day with some final remarks.
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