Regarding the news story “Excela Health ERs in Westmoreland treat 400 drug ODs in 2012” (Feb. 9 and TribLIVE.com): Drug overdose and abuse in Pennsylvania is a public health problem that is being ignored at the state level. As a health-care professional, I understand why the Excela ER physician offers the patient who overdoses information on inpatient and outpatient treatment centers instead of admitting the patient. He practices in Pennsylvania.
It is also sad that the first line of defense for a drug overdose is the paramedic giving CPR and Narcan. Pennsylvania is ranked 10th in the U.S. for drug overdoses. The Pennsylvania Drug and Alcohol Abuse Control Act is not working.
The amended Mississippi Code of 1972 addresses emergency involuntary commitment of alcohol and drug addicts by physicians. In 2003, Kentucky passed the Matthew Casey Wethington Act for Substance Abuse Intervention, which allows family members, friends or anyone else to petition a Kentucky court for involuntary commitment of drug abusers. As of March 22, 2012, Ohio had its first statutory procedure in effect for involuntary hospitalization and treatment of addicted alcohol and drug abusers.
Our society has separated drug and alcohol addiction from mental-health illnesses and medical illnesses. This illness remains in limbo until our state provides adequate statutes to support health care providers and grieving families.
Anita L. Leonard
The writer is a registered nurse with a master's degree in public health.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.