About WQED's Opioids Initiative

The heroin and opioids epidemic has been building for years, stemming from the over-prescription of opioid drugs used to treat pain. While coroners and medical examiners across Pennsylvania have been compiling grim statistics at an unprecedented rate, a major collaboration is underway to combat this public health crisis, with state lawmakers, law enforcement, medical professionals and advocates joining forces. WQED Multimedia has spent years covering the issue, but in 2016 began a more focused, in-depth, multiplatform look at the crisis in Western Pennsylvania. Our project includes televised documentaries, digital first content, broadcast community forums, social media outreach and informational resources.

A Statewide Collaboration

In 2018, WQED also joined forces with all of Pennsylvania's public media outlets in a collaborative project called "Battling Opioids." The initiative coincides with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf's issuance of a disaster declaration for Pennsylvania’s “heroin and opioid epidemic.” WHYY, WITF, WLVT, WPSU, WSEE, WVIA and WQED will share resources and content. The stations will also increase TV and radio airtime, community engagement, web and social media presence - all focusing on the opioids crisis.

News, Media Coverage, and Recognition

TribLive - "WQED, additional state public broadcasters, address opioid crisis"

"The Pub" Podcast Ep. 110 - How public media is teaming up to address Pennsylvania's opioid crisis.

"Broken: Women - Families - Opioids" is honored by PAB.
The Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters announced that its annual PAB Award for Outstanding Public Affairs Program goes to WQED for its documentary focusing on opioid addiction among women and the impact on families and society. The ceremony is scheduled for May 7, 2018.

"Hope After Heroin" wins Emmy©​ Award
WQED was honored with a Mid-Atlantic Emmy©
in the category of Community Service for its station-wide efforts to raise awareness of heroin addiction in Western Pennsylvania. The statuette was presented at a ceremony on September 24, 2017.

Press Club of Western Pennsylvania recognizes WQED's heroin coverage.
WQED was honored at the Press Club's Golden Quill Awards on May 25, 2017. The televised town hall forum "Hope After Heroin: Fighting the Epidemic" won the Golden Quill Award in the Public Affairs/Community Service Category. A second broadcast, "Hope After Heroin: The Epidemic in Our Backyard," received a nomination as Outstanding Documentary.