News

Potential heroin overdoses spike in Franklin County

Written by Staff Report/Chambersburg Public Opinion | Dec 2, 2015 12:27 PM
heroin_syringe.jpg

FILE PHOTO: used heroin syringes and cooking spoons are found hidden at the base of trees as Steve Monnin cleans a wooded area of Combs Park in Hamilton, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

(Undated) -- A spike in possible heroin overdoses in the last week is being reported in Franklin County.

County Coroner Jeff Conner said his office has seen a "dramatic increase" in potential heroin overdoses in the last five days. He said there were three in Chambersburg and one in Guilford Township.

Conner noted that while they await autopsy results that could take eight to 10 weeks, there is evidence from the scenes as well as preliminary tests that support the heroin overdose conclusion.

Chambersburg police said officers are investigating the death of a 57-year-old borough resident on Monday as a possible overdose.

A media release from CPD said officers were called to a residence on Hemlock Circle at 7:44 p.m. to assist Chambersburg's Emergency Medical Services personnel in what was initially reported as a cardiac arrest.

The victim was taken to Chambersburg Hospital, where she was pronounced dead by the Franklin County Coroner's Office.

The woman's name will not be released until family has been notified.

Previously, two people were found dead on Nov. 28 from what officials believe were drug overdoses. Within about an hour of one another early that morning, a man's body was found on Fairground Avenue and a woman's body was found on Hollywell Avenue.

It is not clear when the fourth suspected overdose Conner referred to took place.

Franklin County District Attorney said Tuesday that with the news of the recent overdoses, "that's almost one per day, and would result in 365 for a year if that number held."

In light of that, Fogal said he would agree with Conner that the increase is "dramatic."

"Opiate abuse is an epidemic in much of our region and nation, and is a killer. I have said for quite some time now that we cannot arrest our way out of this public health epidemic," Fogal said. "Our focus on the dealers continues in law enforcement, but the demand side of the equation must likewise be addressed with more outside-the-box ingenuity."

Fogal said he believes more money needs to be allocated from the state for "legitimate treatment options" for addicts.

"Throwing someone an addict jail for personal possession of heroin keeps them alive temporarily because it denies them access to more opiates," Fogal "but does not get to the root of the problem in legitimately treating the underlying addiction."


This article comes to us through a partnership between Public Opinion Online and WITF.

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