HARRISBURG, PA (October 4, 2016) – The lives of 50
overdose victims were saved since last October thanks to efforts by the Dauphin
County Commissioners and District Attorney to ensure police and first
responders had access to the life-saving drug Narcan.
All county police departments, as well as ambulance crews,
probation and work release officers and other first responders have ready
access to the overdose reversal drug, naloxone. Additionally, the county’s
Department of Drug & Alcohol Services can provide information to friends
and family members of someone suffering with opioid dependence on how to obtain
To help families learn about how to get help for loved ones,
at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13 the county will be holding a town hall
meeting at the Lower Dauphin Middle School, 251 Quarry Rd, Hummelstown, 17036.
It is one of a series of community forums the county has sponsored over the
Too many families are losing their loved ones to heroin and
opiate abuse and we are committed to doing all we can to end these senseless
deaths,’’ said Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III, who oversees the county’s
Human Services. “We have made sure that all first responders can save the life
of someone dying from an overdose and that is a critical first step to battling
District Attorney Ed Marsico, who secured money from the
Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association to provide the Narcan for police,
said the commonwealth and the nation are seeing both increasingly pure forms of
heroin and increased use.
Marsico said the fact that police used Narcan to save 50 overdose
victims since October underscores the danger posed by heroin and other opiates
authorities are seeing on the street.
“The heroin being sold today is stronger – and therefore more
lethal – than anything we’ve seen in the past,’’ Marsico said. “As law
enforcers, we are committed to punishing criminals and saving lives, which is
why making sure police have Narcan is as important as prosecuting the people
selling this poison.’’
Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs
Secretary Gary Tennis said Dauphin County is on the forefront of finding ways
to combat drug abuse and save lives.
“When Pennsylvania last year cleared the way for first
responders and all Pennsylvanians to have access to naloxone, Dauphin County
seized the initiative to make sure this life-saving drug was available to all
those who needed it,’’ Tennis said. “Dauphin County is also on the forefront of
ensuring all those who need addiction treatment and counseling receive these
Commission Chairman Jeff Haste said heroin and opiate
addiction HITS families from all walks of life.
“From urban to suburban, from rich to poor, heroin and drug
abuse and the pain it causes touches all our communities,’’ Haste said. “We are
doing everything we can to create an environment where someone struggling with
addiction can come forward, without fear or shame, and seek help.’’
Commissioner Mike Pries agreed, saying efforts to expand drug
treatment helps everyone.
“We know that a majority of crimes are committed by those either
trying to get drugs or the money to buy drugs,’’ Pries said. “Every time we
help someone kick their addiction, we improve the safety and quality of life
for our entire community.’’
Among the other steps being taken to combat the drug
case managers who will work non-regular hours to respond to overdose scenes and
attempt to convince users to voluntarily enter in-patient treatment at that
moment to ensure they get the help they need. The county is also following up
with any overdose survivors who are not contacted at the time of the incident.
released from Dauphin County Prison will be registered in treatment programs so
they can continue the progress they are making without interruption.
county is expanding the availability of medical treatments which manages opioid
dependence, including methadone, suboxone and vivitrol, which is also used to
treat alcohol dependence.
with area treatment providers, such as Gaudenzia Common Ground, to reduce the
waiting list for treatment, especially detox beds.
For more information or to get help, call Dauphin County Drug
and Alcohol Services at 717-635-2255. The line is manned 24/7 and someone