Dauphin County taking steps to reverse deadly trend

HUMMELSTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – Health and safety officials continue to hold town halls in communities throughout the state and in our region to address the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic.

Thursday night, a large crowd gathered at Lower Dauphin Middle School to take part in an open discussion about the ongoing problem that continues to grow.

According to the state Department of Human Services, overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999 and heroin-related deaths have more than tripled since 2010.

Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick says he has heard a lot of horror stories, including children witnessing their parents overdose in the car.

“I heard a mom say she would die for her kids, but she could not stop using to save her kids,” Hartwick said. “So she would put her life in front of her kids, but the power of addiction was stronger than what she would do to save their lives.”

Hartwick says Dauphin County had the highest per capita overdose death rate in 2015, in our region, and the highest percentage increase (52) from 2014-2015 in overdose deaths. He says Dauphin County is on pace to exceed 100 overdose-related deaths in 2016.

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