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St. Francis University to hold panel to continue drug discussion
By: Maria Miller
LORETTO, Pa. -- Over the past several months 6 News has lead a discussion on the growing drug abuse taking over local communities. It's been called, Heroin: Our Town's Addiction.
It's a program 6 News has taken very seriously and a program that started as a result of the need to inform the community and work towards a solution. Now, a local university is hoping to continue that discussion.
Even though students at St. Francis University in Loretto are not leading the drug trends in the county, one of the counselors there said it's a discussion that needs to happen, saying it would be foolish for his university, or any university or community to think it's not happening under their watch.
"I watched it and came back and talked with our staff about what would be a natural follow up to that," said David Wilson, a counselor and substance abuse specialist for the university. "When we looked at [6 News'] direction which was to involve parents to talk about the issue, we thought it necessary to maybe bring the people together that we're associated with: treating professionals, colleges, universities, high schools."
Wilson is leading the university to hold its own forum in May. It'll be a day-long event with speakers like Dr. Kenneth Dickinson, a nationally recognized prevention specialist from Philadelphia, and Kevin Price, field supervisor of the Cambria County Drug Task Force who has been a large part of the programs at 6 News.
"I think any university or college that would think it could not happen on their campus is really illustrating a real strong sense of denial," Wilson said.
Wilson works first hand with drug abuse on a daily basis and said it's only getting worse. That why he feels it's a discussion that needs to continue.
"It touches us and touches families in many different ways," Wilson said. "I understand that even when you mention the word heroin we can count many people whos lives it's influenced or touched."
The university has sent out hundreds of brochures about the event to treatment centers, colleges and high schools across Pennsylvania. Wilson said he's already seeing reservations and hearing plenty of positive feedback.
For more information visit https://francis.edu/counseling-services or call the counseling center on campus at 814-472-3211.