Battling Opioids

Pennsylvania Public Media’s Battling Opioids Series Returns For Part Six; Opioid Addiction and Coronavirus

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Bethlehem, PA. – September 17, 2020 –Battling Opioids, a project from the seven Pennsylvania public media stations, returns for part six. For some, recovery has been a very long road, especially in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. In 2020, overdose deaths have risen an average of 13 percent across the country compared to 2019. The New York Times has referred to the COVID-19 pandemic as a “national relapse trigger” and if this trend continues, it will be the sharpest increase in overdose deaths since 2016.

Battling Opioids Part Six will premiere on PBS39/WLVT Thursday, September 24, at 7 p.m.

The coronavirus is now affecting all aspects of life. For someone dealing with addiction, the change in routine could be detrimental to their recovery due to isolation and increased anxiety. In part six of Battling Opioids, you’ll hear updates from some of the people featured in earlier programs, as well as how COVID-19 impacts all aspects of recovery, from education to treatment.

“We need to continue to shed light on the darkness of addiction as we enter into month six of navigating a global pandemic,” said Tim Fallon, Chief Executive Officer of Lehigh Valley Public Media. “We continue to believe in the importance of this project, as we can help save lives by connecting people who seek information and support with sources of assistance across Pennsylvania.”

Battling Opioids Part Sixwill look forward to segments from WQED and WITF as well from us here at PBS39. We speak with people in recovery who say the pandemic has made their path tougher, with virtual appointments and meetings, not always meeting needs like face-to-face sessions do.

The program also features a panel discussion with Senator Gene Yaw, of the 23rd Senatorial District, Raphael Barishansky Deputy, Secretary for Health Preparedness and Community Protection at the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Jordan Barbour, Director of clinical operations, psychiatry and addiction medicine at Geisinger, and Steve French with The Recovery Bank.

Visit to watch the first five parts of this series or visit to listen. Check your local listings to find PBS39/WLVT on your cable or satellite provider.

About Lehigh Valley Public Media™
Lehigh Valley Public Media is home to PBS39, WLVR News, and various community initiatives. We are the regional leader in the publicly funded, non-profit media space and serve a vibrant and growing economic region through a dedication to local, unbiased journalism, primary and secondary education, workforce development and health and wellness.PBS39 broadcasts four additional channels of content: PBS39 Extra, WORLD, Create TV and France 24. Lehigh Valley Public Media is licensed in Allentown to the Lehigh Valley Public Telecommunications Corporation. For more information, visit

About Battling Opioids
Pennsylvania has one of the highest opioid overdose death rates in the nation. Every day, thousands of Pennsylvanians—mothers, and fathers, children, neighbors—struggle to overcome addiction. Rural and urban, rich and poor, the opioid crisis affects all of us.

Neither people nor communities can fight this battle alone. Battling Opioids is a project of seven Pennsylvania Public Media stations. Public media has a unique potential to connect Pennsylvanians across boundaries, and, in an unprecedented collaboration, we are doing just that. Our local reporting and programming have covered the opioid crisis for years, now we are uniting to show you how Pennsylvanians statewide are confronting the epidemic of heroin and prescription opioid abuse. We are increasing awareness and empathy to reduce the stigma around opioid use, aid prevention, and help people find treatment.

Pennsylvania Public Media stations​ WHYY​ (Philadelphia),​ WITF​ (Harrisburg), WLVT/PBS39​ (Greater Lehigh Valley),​ WPSU​ (State College),​ WQED​ (Pittsburgh), WQLN​ (Northwestern Pennsylvania), and​ VIA​ Public Media (Northeastern Pennsylvania) are collaborating to produce educational programming that focuses on the opioid crisis and its impact.

Information provided to TVL by:
Victoria Scialfa
Marketing and Public Relations Manager
Lehigh Valley Public Media