York County tackles heroin epidemic

2014 was a deadly year for York County. Officials involved in fixing the county’s heroin problem are remaining positive—even though the statistics are grim.

“The heroin deaths have more than tripled, so we obviously have an epidemic here with heroin,” said York County Coroner Pam Gay. “We have a lot of families that have been torn apart and devastated in this last year.”

In 2014, 62 York County families lost a loved one to a heroin overdose. One of the parents forced to deal with that reality is Vickie Glatfelter of Dover.

“My son passed away in April of last year, so we’re just shy of a year,” said Glatfelter.

She continues to share her tragic story and believes a lot of good is being done by the York County Heroin Task Force.

“I have attended almost every one of the task force meetings,” said Glatfelter.

The free town hall style meetings provide an outlet and promote education and awareness on the issue.

“It encourages people to come forward and begin to speak about it. Before, nobody talked about it; there was no community resource for anyone to turn to,” said Glatfelter.

Soon, York County will also turn to the opioid reversal drug Narloxone or Narcan. It’s a nasal injector that can be administered by police to save someone from an overdose.

“I think Narcan will definitely make a difference,” said Glatfelter.

It was not available to make a difference for her son, but she hopes it will give others a second chance.

“It’s definitely one way of combating the problem,” said Gay. It’s not the solution, but if we can get a life saved and give them help, recovery and long term treatment, it’s better than death or incarceration.”

By the end of February of 2014, York County had 9 heroin related deaths. With one day left in the month, York County has two since January 1 of 2015.

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