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Penn State Social Science Researchers Collaborate to Study Opioid Epidemic

by on October 28, 2017 5:00 AM

Researchers in Penn State's Justice Center for Research are trying address the opioid epidemic in the state and significantly decrease cases of addiction.

Led by Glenn Sterner, the research team is working to pinpoint opioid distribution networks by highlighting the way prescription painkillers make their way into rural communities and ways to disturb these networks in 16 counties across Pennsylvania. The center recently received a $1 million grant to further its efforts.

"It will allow us to work with our various partners to really have a better understanding of how opioids get trafficked across these communities," Sterner said.

Research team member Ashton Verdery, associate professor of sociology and demography, helps facilitate public listening sessions on opioid addiction. He said those are important to get "real community input," that can be integrated with local police efforts.

Verdery added that the growing opioid epidemic nationwide can't be solved by one organization, but will take law enforcement, health providers and communities working together.

Centre County Report's Taylor Rambo takes a closer look at the Justice Center for Research's effort, and talks with a Penn State student who knows all too well what it's like to see a family member gripped by addiction.

This video is produced by and for Centre County Report and shared through a partnership with

The Centre County Report is produced by students and faculty from Penn State's College of Communications. It is designed to serve a dual purpose. It is a source of news and information to the residents of Centre County.
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