Vision: The Fayette County Overdose Task Force will eliminate overdoses in Fayette County through collaboration and education.

Vision: The Fayette County Overdose Task Force will eliminate overdoses in Fayette County through collaboration and education.


Formed to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic in the area, the Fayette County Overdose Task Force was established in 2018 with the vision of eliminating overdoses in Fayette County through collaboration and education. A 3-year strategic plan guides the work of the Task Force and has outlined the following priorities:

  • Reduce stigma in Fayette County
  • Empower professionals to promote the health, safety, and well-being of person at high-risk for overdose and/or with Substance Use Disorder/Opioid Use Disorder or an active addiction.
  • Ensure that individuals in Fayette County have access to quality Substance Use Disorder treatment at the appropriate level of care, including MAT.
  • Increase access of naloxone for all residents in Layette County.
  • Ensure that residents of Fayette County are well-informed of the signs of Substance Use Disorder/Opioid Use Disorder, overdose, treatment options, and recovery programs available throughout the community.

Contact Information

Coalition Leadership

Melissa Ferris – – (724) 438-3577, extension 149

Erica Usher – – (724) 438-3577, extension 163

Join the Coalition

Local Resources
State Resources
Federal Resources

Local Resources

Person First Language resources

People-first language (PFL), also called person-first language, puts a person before a diagnosis. In this way, it describes what condition a person "has" rather than asserting what a person "is". It is intended to avoid marginalization or dehumanization (either consciously or subconsciously) when discussing people with a chronic illness or disability. (Wikipedia, 2022)

Narcan®(Naloxone) access

Naloxone is a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose. It is an opioid "antagonist" which means that it attaches to opioid receptors and reverses and blocks the effects of other opioids. Naloxone can quickly restore normal breathing to a person if their breathing has slowed or stopped because of an opioid overdose. But, naloxone has no effect on someone who does not have opioids in their system, and it is not a treatment for opioid use disorder. Examples of opioids include heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, and morphine. (NIDA, 2022)

Medication/Drug Take Back Sites

State Resources

Life Unites Us

Life Unites Us is fighting to end the stigma around addiction in Pennsylvania. A crucial step in reducing substance use disorder, including opioid addiction and overdose rates, is to confront and correct harmful perceptions and societal stereotypes by sharing the real stories of those living with addiction across our state. Together, our voices have the power to inform, uplift, and save lives. (Life Unites Us, 2022)

Good Samaritan Law

Through the ‘Good Samaritan’ provision of Act 139, friends and loved ones are encouraged to summon emergency medical services by calling 911 in the event they witness an overdose. The law is meant to suppress the fear of arrest in calling authorities for an overdose event by offering certain criminal and civil protections for those that do. Law enforcement entities in other states that have implemented Good Samaritan protections for those who dial 911 in good faith have reported significant improvements in community relations. (DDAP, 2022)

PA Department of Health

Federal Resources

SAMHSA Overcoming Stigma and Ending Discrimination

Facts About the Opioid Epidemic*

National Statistics

  • Heroin-related overdose deaths have quadrupled since 2010, as the heroin use has increased during that time frame.
  • From 2014-2015, heroin overdose death rates increased by 20.6%, with nearly 13,000 people dying in 2015.
  • Among new heroin users, approximately 3 out of 4 report having abused prescription opioids prior to using heroin.
  • More than 9 in 10 people who used heroin also used at least one other drug.

Pennsylvania Statistics

  • In 2015, more than 3500 Pennsylvanians lost their lives to drug overdoses.
  • Each day, at least 10 Pennsylvanians die of opioid or heroin overdose.
  • The problem can largely be attributed to the rapid rise in the abuse of opioids, including both prescription pain relievers and heroin.

*National statistics are from and state statistics are from

Fayette County Lives Lost

  • 2018: 40
  • 2017: 75
  • 2016: 60

Do You Need Help Finding Resources for Yourself or a Loved One?

Fayette County Drug and Alcohol Commission:  (724) 438-3576

Contact Us