Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Heroin, but heroin isn't the only problem

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Nov 10, 2014 4:13 PM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Tuesday, November 11, 2014:

You often hear the word epidemic to describe the prevalence of heroin use in Central Pennsylvania.  A powerful opiate drug that once was the scourge of inner cities has found its way to the suburbs and small towns of Pennsylvania.

A report issued this fall by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania estimated that 34,000 teenagers try heroin each year.

Part of the reason is its cheap -- buyers can purchase a small bag in Central Pennsylvania for $5-$10.

Those who work in law enforcement and treatment say there often isn't the stigma attached to heroin users that there once was.

A prime example of how widespread the danger of heroin is is that 43 people have died from heroin overdoses in York County so far this year.  In 2013, there were a total of 17 heroin overdoses deaths during the entire year.

That same Center for Rural Pennsylvania report found that 80% of those addicted to heroin used prescription drugs first.  Painkillers like Oxycontin and Vicodin were usually the drugs of choice.

As part of WITF's Real Life Real Issues; Drugs and Young People project, Tuesday's Smart Talk focuses on heroin and prescription medication abuse.

Appearing on the program are Glenys DiLissio, director of Perry Human Services, Erin Pressel of Gaudenzia Treatment and Recovery, and David Sunday, Chief Deputy Prosecutor and head of the Heroin Drug Task Force in the York County District Attorney's office.

The York County Heroin Drug Task Force will hold a town hall meeting on Wednesday, November 19 at 7 p.m. at the Crispus Attucks Community Center, 605 South Duke Street, York.

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  • Scott LaMar img 2014-11-11 14:35

    Nellie writes...
    Dear Drugs and Youth program task force,

    Thank you for addressing this issue! I'll call in again tomorrow, as there wasn't enough time today.

    We are doing a horticultural therapy program, called Horticultural Therapy: Plants and Life, at the Central Counties Youth Center in Bellefonte, PA. Through the use of interactions with plants, hands on gardening, education related to plants, food and nutrition, and a positive and caring environment, we focus on wellness for the whole person...mind, body, and spirit. Many of the kids (12-18yrs) that come to this correctional facility are dealing with drug and alcohol related issues. I don't have have the opportunity to talk with them about details of why they're at the center, so I don't have statistics. What I DO have the opportunity to talk about is dealing with the past, living in the present, and being inspired to make choices for the future that are pointed in new and positive directions. Plants are a GREAT source of inspiration! The majority of the kids I've worked with for the last 1 1/2 hrs in this program have responded in positive ways and most have indicated an interest in continuing their plant work/gardening at home. This is only part of a solution, but it supports the idea of kids choosing hobbies that encourage them to keep growing and learning, eating healthy and getting outside for exercise and fresh air, and interacting with other seasoned community members who can serve as part of a support system for the kids.

    There's much to discuss on this subject of heroin use. One of my main questions was voiced by others who called in today...why are doctors prescribing opiate related drugs?!? Our (as a society) tolerance for pain needs to change as well as our expectation for a quick fix. Convenience is not always a good friend. There is something more powerful about healing when we have to go through the pain of healing...makes a stronger appreciation for wellness. It seems to me that doctors have an important role in standing up to the pharmaceutical companies and prescribing only what is necessary...and we've gone WAY beyond necessary. We don't have pharmaceuticals in our house other than a couple Tylenol for when my husband has an occasional headache. I went through the natural birth process twice with our kids without medications before, during, or after birth...sure it hurt (it hurt a whole lot!), but that was part of the process. I think education and encouragement and changing expectations of society are an important part of this process, but the offering of the prescriptions/pharmaceuticals is another really important part...doctors and pharmaceutical companies hold much responsibility in changing the course of this epidemic.

    All for now. Thanks! Please keep the conversation going!

    Nellie Bhattarai

  • Benjamin img 2014-11-12 09:20

    This is an issue between a child and a parent. Why are you fear mongering on morning news radio? This is just a way of perpetuating the War on Drugs. Mariijuana, alcohol, and other drug use is not only used by burn outs and at risk youth.