YORK COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) – The heroin epidemic in the U.S. is spreading; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week deaths from the drug nearly quadrupled between 2002 and 2013.
In York County, there’s a push to stop the overdoses.
The county saw more than 60 overdose deaths last year, and the pace is about the same so far this year.
Saturday, a group gathered to say enough is enough.
If you looked around William Kain Park, you’d see a lot of giraffes. They were Brooke Fiorentino’s favorite.
“Yep, she loved giraffes,” her twin sister, Alyssa, said.
Brooke died in February from overdosing on heroin.
“It’s been hard,” Alyssa said. “I still have to deal with the grief every day, and I just feel like I’ll never get a part of me back. Part of my soul is gone.”
At the weekend vigil for Brooke, many wore t-shirts with the phrase “Two Hearts, One Soul” on them. The twins used that phrase with each other.
The gathering brought together friends, family, support groups, and even addicts.
“We’re not terrible people,” said Tiffany Keck, “We’re sick. We’re sick when we’re using.”
Keck has two sons. She was in recovery with Brooke.
She’s lost friend after friend.
“The day after he got out,” Keck said, remembering a friend who was released from jail, “he shot one bag of dope, and he’s dead. He died. That was it. Takes one bag.”
“The disease won, and it broke my heart. And I will never be the same again,” Vickie Glatfelter told the crowd.
Her son, Bob, overdosed last year. In the wake of her grief, she started a local chapter of the advocacy group Not One More.
“Going through his addiction, I felt like so alone and didn’t know who to turn to, had no one to talk to,” she said.
For the group gathered Saturday, the message is simple: If you need help, get help.
“And it’s okay to let people know you’re an addict,” Alyssa said. “Because it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.”
That’s what Alyssa did. She’s in recovery herself.
“Just gives me a little more hope, I guess, that I can help someone else that maybe doesn’t have to die like Brooke did.”
The York County coroner also spoke Saturday and told the crowd about local resources to fight addiction.
You can find those resources here: https://yorkcountypa.gov/county-administration/row-officers/coroner/alerts.html