Drug Deaths Spark Task for Pennsylvania County

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Drug Deaths Spark Task for Pennsylvania County

In Westmoreland County, PA the 78 drug-overdose deaths reported last year do not have any connection with each other. This epidemic is happening in trailer parks and million dollar mansions. The number of deaths has sparked the need for a task force to deal with the growing problem. The task force will have members from law enforcement, hospitals, pharmacists, the court system, treatment programs and the treatment and recovery community.

The number of accidental drug-related deaths has risen from 22 in 2002 to 78 last year, an increase of 255 percent. With 33 fatalities so far this year, 2013 is on its way to setting another grim record in county. It is chilling to realize that the number of drug-related deaths in 2012 was almost double that resulting from traffic accidents, which totaled 41. It is also troubling for the county, because the Westmoreland county drug-death numbers are outpacing national trends. In Westmoreland and across the country, the problem seems to be prescription medicines.

The task force will work on a root-cause analysis of the overdose death data, and study will be age, geography, behavioral and mental health histories and involvement with the criminal justice system. The task force will look at all aspects of the county’s drug problem, including prevention, education, detox and recovery programs.

One proposal is to have a change in state law to deal with prescription drug abuse. AS measure is being debated in the legislature to establish a “pharmaceutical accountability monitoring system” that would create a central data bank for the prescribing of pain medications that are at risk for being abused. This legislation would prevent doctor shopping.

Seabrook is a private CARF accredited drug and alcohol treatment facility. We tailor our treatment to the individual patient’s needs in order to optimize outcomes—this often involves a combination of treatment, social supports, and other services. There is hope out there. All Seabrook programs are grounded in the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). The Seabrook Model® of treatment includes a multifaceted medical approach to alcohol and other drugs including opiate detoxification, gender-specific therapy with special emphasis on relapse prevention, and family intervention services. Seabrook has treatment centers in New Jersey (NJ) and Pennsylvania (PA) with an outpatient office in New York (NY).