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Rehabilitation Resources For Meth Users Are Scarce In Pittsburgh, Especially For LGBT Users

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA
Resources for Pittsburgh's LGBT community can be scarce, especially around addiction.

Many overdose fatalities in Pennsylvania are opioid-related, but deaths from methamphetamine and other stimulants are back on the rise. For people who use meth, especially those who also identify as LGBT+, resources can be scarce.

There is a growing need for queer-centered resources in Pittsburgh, says Tommy Brassell, a medical assistant at Central Outreach Wellness Center, a clinic that specializes in LGBT health care. 

He tells The Confluence: “When you send somebody into a place where they don’t feel comfortable or they don’t feel that they can let their guard down or walls down, I can only speak for me, but I feel like the chances for a successful recovery are slim to none.”

Brassell joins 90.5 WESA reporter Sarah Boden and Jay Yoder, director of development at PERSAD Center, Inc., to discuss Pittsburgh's meth problem and what resources are still needed to support LGBT users. (PERSAD offers outpatient substance abuse treatment. Central Outreach Wellness Center offers outpatient detox and rehab, support programs and referrals.)

Credit Courtesy of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Courtesy of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
STACKS is an online platform created by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh where library cardholders can download music by Pittsburgh artists.

Elsewhere in the program:  

On Friday, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is launching STACKS, a new way to discover local music electronically. Toby Greenwalt, director of digital strategy for the library, says that STACKS’ local focus serves to highlight and elevate local artists, and provides these artists with compensation for their work. The platform will initially include 40 artists from across Pittsburgh’s music scene like Slim Forsythe and Brittney Chantele. Beginning in April, STACKS will put out a call for new artists and tracks on a rolling basis. “That way it will continue to grow and evolve and those little snapshots of the immediate music scene will change over time,” Greenwalt says.

And ORSANCO is a multi-state commission charged with ensuring water quality in the Ohio River. It's scheduled to vote Thursday on whether to eliminate its pollution control standards. The Allegheny Front’s Julie Grant reports on the ORSANCO standards and what losing them could mean for the health of the Ohio River.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Kiley Koscinski covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.
Julia Zenkevich reports on Allegheny County government for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at
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