Classes Cancelled/Offices Closed 3/21/18

Due to the inclement weather, the University has cancelled classes and closed offices on Wednesday, March 21. Online classes are held at the discretion of the instructor.  Read more

About The Program

Making the Connections

The opioid crisis is at epidemic levels, with 14 Pennsylvanians dying every day and drug overdose rates in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh among the highest in the U.S. Meanwhile, although still considered illegal on a federal level, the Commonwealth’s new Medical Marijuana Program for patients with specific serious medical conditions has launched.

Could access to medical cannabis in Pennsylvania lead to reduced opioid prescribing for pain? Will there be an impact on heroin and other street drug use?  Policy researchers have reported some positive trends in states that provided access to legal cannabis, including decreases in opioid prescribing and overdose deaths, but the data is still inconclusive, and others raise concerns about negative effects, such as impaired driving and teen use. Join a vibrant discussion with thought leaders in drug policy and addiction recovery to learn more about this emerging health policy issue. 


Thursday, March 22, 2018
5:30 to 7:00 p.m.


  • Andrew Peterson, PharmD, PhD'09, The John Wyeth Dean, Mayes College of Healthcare and Business Policy


  • Gail Groves Scott, MPH'16, manager, Substance Use Disorders Institute


  • Joe Schrank, founder and program director, High Sobriety

  • Devin Reaves MSW, executive director, Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Coalition

Panel Discussion
Questions and Answers

About the Speakers

Joe SchrankJoe Schrank
Program Director of High Sobriety

Joe Schrank is the Founder and Program Director of High Sobriety.  He founded High Sobriety in 2017 as a response to the minimal choices for people who reject the idea that total abstinence in AA is the only valid path to recovery. Joe has had a long career in helping people find their recovery. As a young man at USC, he treated his depression with alcohol and avoidance. Once sober, he returned to academia, studying clinical social work at Iona College and in a Master’s program at the University of Illinois where his research was focused on college athletes with depression and alcohol abuse. From there, Joe became a residential therapist at Promises in Malibu, California. Joe founded '' which continues as the premiere source of news and information about addiction and recovery.

Devin ReavesDevin Reaves MSW
Executive Director Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Coalition

Devin is a person living in recovery since 2007.  He is a community organizer and grassroots advocacy leader. Devin has worked on the expansion of access to the lifesaving medication Naloxone, implementation of 911 Good Samaritan policies, and the development of youth oriented systems. He wants to build constituencies of consequence that will lead to meaningful public health policy changes around substance use disorders. Devin is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Coalition (PAHRC).

The mission of PAHRC is to promote the health, dignity, and human rights of individuals who use drugs and communities impacted by drug use. Recognizing that social inequity, criminalization, and stigma silence those affected most, we advocate for policies that improve the quality of life for people who use drugs, people in recovery, and their communities.

Devin received a Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice with a focus on community and organizational change and has a BA in Human Services from Lynn University. Devin also serves on the Camden County Addiction Awareness Task Force and the Board of Directors for the Association of Recovery Schools.