ABC27 launches reports on ‘Fighting the Opioid Crisis’

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Every day in Pennsylvania alone, opioids kill 13 people. ABC27 News decided to try to help do something, so we’re beginning a new weekly series called “Fighting the Opioid Crisis.”

We’ll work with Partnership for Better Health, a nonprofit that actively looks for ways to improve the health of Midstaters. When they learned the statistics, they turned to ABC27 for help getting the word out.

“At a national level, we know that in 2016 alone, more people died of overdoses than in the entire Vietnam War, so it’s really hitting home,” said Becca Raley, executive director of Partnership for Better Health.

Raley believes the numbers are probably under-reported. Our plan is to give you the best information we can so that we can all use to make a difference.

“Everyone should know that when they got to their physician – if they’re prescribed a medication, they need to know to say, ‘is this addictive?'” Raley said. “And if it is, what does that mean? Are there alternatives? Are there other choices?”

Dr. Carrie Delone has seen opioids tear families apart, and she’s angry.

“The opioid epidemic is one of the only healthcare crises that was actually caused by society, pharmaceutical companies, health care providers, and the government because of the way they mandated the care of pain,” Delone said.

We’ll get more into how and when this epidemic started in the weeks to come.

One phone number we will always give you is 1-800-622-HELP (4357). If you know someone struggling with addiction, the hotline is staffed by trained professionals 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Our next “Fighting the Opioid Crisis” report airs Jan. 8 at 11 p.m.

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