DA turns to mothers who lost children to drug overdoses to combat crisis

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – On Thursday the Lancaster County District Attorney announced that the county is on pace for almost 200 drug overdose deaths in 2017, which would be a record.

Now, the District Attorney’s Office has released a new public service announcement they hope will stop the problem.

The video features two mothers who lost their children to heroin overdoses.

Patricia Zilling is one of the mothers featured in the video. Her son, Michael, died when he was 25 years old.

“To see your husband give your son mouth to mouth to bring him back is too much,” she said.

Lea Horner is the other woman featured in the video. She lost her daughter Hannah when she 21 years old.

“She died beside her bed on the floor from a heroin overdose,” Horner recalled. “My daughter, while I slept in bed, died alone up in her room on her floor probably for about 14 hours until she was found.”

Craig Stedman, the Lancaster County District Attorney, said they’re turning from prosecutor to educator by sharing the video. He admitted on Thursday that law enforcement will not arrest their way out of the problem.

“Prevention is the ideal solution,” Stedman added. “We need to get out the word out there, and that’s why we’re going in a different direction with this and trying to do more than ever before. I think we have to.”

The video also has real life indicators unique to heroin and opioid abuse.

Stedman said the video was produced by a local production company and was paid for with drug forfeiture money.

The DA’s office said they hope to share the video in schools, churches, and local movie theaters.

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