CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — Pennsylvania has the third highest number of overdose deaths in the country, with fentanyl posing an ever-growing problem.
On Wednesday, Oct. 19, a panel of experts came together in Lower Allen Township, Cumberland County to discuss the alarming trend.
Experts, including law enforcement, the Cumberland County coroner, and survivors of substance use disorder, were at the municipal building to speak and answer questions.
The various experts spoke with passion, showing how severe the overdose crisis is. Many speakers touched on mental health and how it can fuel overdose deaths. People often seek out drugs to soothe their mental health problems.
Also, illegal drug makers are lacing various popular drugs with fentanyl because it’s easy to make and it’s cheap.
“I know that marijuana is starting to be laced with fentanyl. This is going to reach our middle school students. Our middle school kids are going to start dying and we wait for the train to come and we try to catch up. We need to stop the train,” said Barbara Genna, a clinical therapist.
Every age group, from teenagers to 70-year-olds, is being killed by fentanyl.
It only takes two milligrams of fentanyl to kill a person.
It’s clear there’s no easy solution, but experts say allowing people to stay in rehab longer than a month, as well as easier access to fentanyl test strips, will help limit overdose deaths.