Lanza emphasized the CCSA’s growing capacity for research and partnerships by introducing the first 10 co-funded faculty hires and the incoming CCSA director, Paul Griffin, professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering. She also announced that starting this summer, the CCSA will be renamed as the Consortium on Substance Use and Addiction (CSUA).
Barron discussed Penn State’s capacity and responsibility to urgently take on the complex issues of substance use as they impact the lives of individuals, families and their communities, especially considering how the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the prevalence of substance use disorders.
The conference convened four panels, each focusing on a different system — education, faith-based, corrections, and healthcare — followed by concluding remarks presented by David Saunders, director of the Office of Health Equity at the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Janet Welsh, research professor at the PRC, led a discussion about the challenges and successes of developing and implementing evidence-based substance use prevention programs in schools, notably the PROSPER (PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience) program. PROSPER targets sixth and seventh graders so that young people are engaged before most of them start misusing substances. In sixth grade, children and their caregivers are invited to an extracurricular program designed to build communication, boundaries and trust in ways that protect young people from substance use over time. In school during the seventh grade, students learn social-emotional and decision-making skills that help them avoid substance use.