Nittany News Lehigh Valley

When Will This Problem Stop In The Lehigh Valley?

Stop Heroin. Start Talking. Say No.

Nate Markowicz, Staff Writer

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110. That might just be a number to you but to 110 families that is a lost loved one. From 2015 to 2016, overdose deaths in the Lehigh Valley doubled. The heroin and opioid epidemic is getting out of hand and dangerously fast in the Lehigh Valley and we have to do something to stop it.  Heroin is not only dangerous to the user but also to the community and especially the first responders that are on the scene of an overdose.  Illicit fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, can be 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. It’s also 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin. That potency is what can cause police officers or paramedics to overdose if they encounter only a small amount of the drug.  So it becomes a hazard to those first responders if they are not wearing the correct protective gear.

I interviewed Jessica Swartz, an EMT for St. Luke’s University Health Network to see what she thinks needs to be done to fix this problem in the Lehigh Valley, “I think the solution to the problem is complex to be honest. Hospitals, Urgent Cares and primary physicians have cracked down more on handing out narcotic prescriptions and developed policies for it.  State EMS (emergency medical services) has also revised our protocols indicating we should use acetaminophen rather than narcotic pain medications.  The best ways to prevent more overdoses involves multiple systems and options. Some include safe houses, offering EMS more education for what to offer patients to get drug treatment, make it mandatory for all facilities to report narcotic prescriptions being issued to patients, legislators getting involved and lobbying insurance companies to cover longer stays in drug rehabilitation facilities, and lastly those who get treatment for drug abuse need to be educated better to prevent them from abusing again.”  We need to put an end to this epidemic sooner than later.

 

 

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When Will This Problem Stop In The Lehigh Valley?