PITTSBURGH (AP) – Western Pennsylvania’s top federal prosecutor says some of the state’s coroners are thwarting efforts to gather overdose data needed to fight Pennsylvania’s heroin and opioid epidemic.
U.S. Attorney David Hickton spoke about the issue at a news conference Wednesday. It centered on a report and recommendations by the University of Pittsburgh about how a working group Hickton organized is dealing with epidemic levels of heroin and other opioid abuse.
The top recommendation in the 64-page report is the need for real-time data on overdoses, so law enforcement and medical officials can respond quickly to areas experiencing a rash of overdoses.
Hickton says he may pursue “legal action” against some coroners, mostly rural, who he believes aren’t offering the information. The state coroners association says many smaller coroners are hampered by a lack of full-time staff.