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Letters to the Editor

Step up opioid fight

| Tuesday, April 18, 2017, 9:00 p.m.

I read the news story “Authorities in Westmoreland continue hunt for solution to opioid epidemic” by Renatta Signorini and found it relevant both professionally and personally.

I am a registered nurse and work in an area where we often deal with overdoses by young people, some of whom probably will never be functional again. On a personal level, I have recently dealt with an overdose by my child.

In 2016, there were 174 confirmed fatal overdoses in Westmoreland County.

Gov. Tom Wolf has expanded the state's Centers of Excellence, which coordinate care for people with opioid-related substance use disorder who are on Medicaid. One is located in Westmoreland County.

This epidemic continues to grow in the county, and additional resources are needed. First responders now carry naloxone. Addicts are able to purchase it from pharmacies, and are given the drug when discharged from emergency rooms after an overdose.

This is a fix, not a solution. We need to find more effective ways to address the opioid epidemic. This may be by improving or expanding treatment centers or by providing education, starting in the schools.

This epidemic does not discriminate and we are all dealing with it by watching our friends and family members struggle.

Gina Ragazzini

Unity

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