Hope in a Time of Crisis: Communities Organize to Fight Opioid Addiction

by Jack Firneno

Girl comforting her friendIt’s impossible to talk about pain management in 2017, and in Southeastern Pennsylvania, without also exploring the opioid crisis.

The Drug Enforcement Agency’s analysis of drug-related deaths in 2015 shows a continued rise in overdoses statewide, especially from opioids. Published last July, it documents 3,383 drug-related deaths across Pennsylvania that year. Heroin and fentanyl, a synthetic opioid often mixed with heroin, were present in 54.6 and 27 percent, respectively, of all overdose deaths.

That means, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, that opioid overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death—not just drug-related fatalities—in the state. Bucks and Montgomery counties, with their mix of densely populated and rural areas, ranked in about the middle of the list, with 117 deaths in Bucks and 136 in Montgomery.

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