Physician general to speak at Beaver about Pennsylvania's drug abuse epidemic

MONACA, Pa. — The number of deaths attributed to overdose in Beaver County tripled from 2015 to 2016.

It’s a troubling spike, repeated in counties across Pennsylvania. With 23.6 deaths per 100,000 people, Pennsylvania's rate of overdose deaths ranks sixth highest in the nation.

Much of the grappling with this issue falls to the state’s physician general, Dr. Rachel Levine, who serves as chief adviser to Gov. Tom Wolf on medical and public health-related issues like the drug-abuse epidemic.

She will visit Penn State Beaver on Wednesday, March 22, to speak to students, faculty, staff and the community about her journey as a transgender woman and the drug abuse crisis that is plaguing our state.

Levine will tell her story at 4:30 p.m. in the Student Union Building auditorium, followed by a question-and-answer session. At 5:30 p.m., she will speak about the trend of drug abuse, particularly among teens and college students. That talk will also end with a question-and-answer session.

Levine, who graduated from Harvard and Mt. Sinai Medical Center, is a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine. She previously served as vice chair for clinical affairs for the Department of Pediatrics and chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders at the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital-Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

She also serves as the liaison for the LGBT community for the Office of Diversity at the Penn State College of Medicine. In that role, she has established a LGBT faculty and staff affinity group and is the facilitator for the LGBT student group.

Both of Levine’s talks are free and open to the public, but individuals interested in attending are asked to RSVP by March 17.

Light refreshments will be served in the auditorium lobby.


April Johnston

Public Relations Director, Penn State Beaver

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