Somerset roundtable discussion to focus on opioid impact on economic development

August 4, 2018

A congressional subcommittee is meeting in Somerset on Tuesday to talk about the impact the opioid crisis is having on economic development in Appalachia.

The subcommittee roundtable, titled “Treating Barriers to Prosperity: Addressing the Impact of Opioids on Economic Development in Appalachia,” was scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Somerset County Office Building, 300 N. Center Ave., Somerset.

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton, chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, will lead the discussion, along with U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Sewickley.

“In Appalachia, opioid-related deaths are 65 percent higher than the rest of the nation,” Barletta said. “In 2016 alone, 4,627 Pennsylvanians died due to an opioid overdose. To battle this crisis, we must have a strong, bipartisan response that addresses not only access to treatment and prevention methods, but also the impact this epidemic is having on economic development and access to jobs.”

Participants will include the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Economic Development Administration, state and local officials, and private sector experts, including Somerset County Commissioner Gerald Walker, Somerset Hospital CEO Andrew G. Rush and Somerset County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ron Aldom.

A link to the live webcast will be posted to the House Transportation Committee website.

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