Are criminal charges for overdose saves a possible solution in heroin crisis?

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman knows more needs to be done when it comes to the heroin crisis.

He says Narcan – the life-saving overdose-reversal drug – is a good first step, but he added it’s a step that some people are using too much.

“EMTs are responding to the same person over and over again,” Stedman said. “I had one person say they responded to the same person 10 times.”

Now there’s a program in Ohio that has caught the district attorney’s eyes. Those who have been saved with Narcan face criminal charges unless they seek treatment.

“Just having a consequence to having somebody to have to do something is more than what we’re doing now,” Stedman said. “All we do is save them and the EMTs leave.”

The largest medical service in Lancaster County treated more than 500 people with Narcan in 2016.  Stedman believes a “treatment-or-else” program would at least cut down those numbers.

“All we focused on so far is just the immediate saving of lives,” he said. “We now know what the ramifications are of saving someone from Narcan.”

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