Matzie to participate in heroin/opioid epidemic public hearing on Thursday in his district

AMBRIDGE, May 26 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, said he is looking forward to a frank and productive discussion at next week’s Center for Rural Pennsylvania public hearing on Confronting the Heroin/Opioid Epidemic in Pennsylvania.

“Addiction is an issue that every part of this state is currently in the midst of battling,” Matzie said. “But rural Pennsylvanian communities face very different challenges than communities in Philadelphia or even Pittsburgh. Discussions like this one allow us to understand those differences better so that any intervention effort can be made more effective.” 

The public hearing will start at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday June 2 at the Fez, 2312 Brodhead Road, Aliquippa, 15001.

“Personally, my childhood friend Amy Scherfel-Watkins’ son, Brooks, was a victim of a heroin overdose in Washington County last year. Since then, Amy, her husband and her family have been telling the story about the devastation their family has endured hoping to capture the attention of anybody and everybody,” Matzie said.  “As she told me, if they can help even one person than their son’s purpose here on earth will be fulfilled. I echo those statements and believe as a parent and a policy maker it is my duty to do all that I can to end this epidemic that is affecting families across Pennsylvania and our nation.”

Matzie will join state Sen. Gene Yaw, chairman of the General Assembly’s Center for Rural Pennsylvania, and Beaver County state Sens. Elder Vogel and Camera Bartolatta to deliver opening comments at the hearing.

“I applaud and thank Senator Yaw for the invitation to participate, and for ensuring this public hearing included both sides of the aisle and both chambers of the General Assembly,” Matzie said. “We need action to put a stop to this tragic and senseless loss of life, and to do that we are going to need to act together.”

Matzie will be joined at the hearing by addiction experts, medical professionals, researchers, representatives from local hospitals, officials from area school districts, and district attorneys from Washington, Beaver and Lawrence counties. 

"Pennsylvania unfortunately ranks among the top 10 states in per capita heroin and opioid deaths," said Matzie. “To change that sad reality, it is going to take everyone. We can’t afford to ignore any insight or expertise. Thursday’s conversation will be a stop toward ending this addiction scourge.”