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Quotables: No end to overdose trend

| Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
In an attempt to curb the growing problem of drug abuse, Hampton Township is hosting a roundtable summit to try and combat what is rapidly becoming an epidemic.
In an attempt to curb the growing problem of drug abuse, Hampton Township is hosting a roundtable summit to try and combat what is rapidly becoming an epidemic.

Deaths from drug overdoses in Westmoreland County, this year an estimated 179 and counting, continue their unrelenting march, having set records for nine consecutive years. Most frighting is that county officials see no end to a scourge that's ruining lives. Adding to that grim outlook is the increasing number of deaths linked to fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that's 50 times more powerful, and considerably more deadly, that heroin. For people young or old, close to home and across the commonwealth, drug addiction doesn't discriminate. It decimates.

“At this rate, it looks like we'll wind up with about 194 or 195 fatal overdoses by the end of the year, which is tragic.”

KEN BACHA

Westmoreland County coroner

“It is frightening. But could you imagine the numbers we would have if we weren't doing what we are doing in getting the word out there? It would be much worse. I can say the (drug overdose task force) is continuing to work to make our communities safer, but we've got to learn how to engage more people, getting them involved in groups or support programs. ... It's sad, and we're losing too many people.”

TIM PHILLIPS

Executive director of Westmoreland County's drug overdose task force

“We're actually seeing people who have multiple drugs in their system. And we're seeing a resurgence in cocaine use, too.

KEN BACHA

Westmoreland County coroner

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