HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – According to the state, 300,000 Pennsylvanians are currently suffering from drug addiction. Every day 15 lives are lost to overdose. 

“They need meaningful support, not a lot of talk, but meaningful support,” said Governor Josh Shapiro in a press conference last week. “We are giving greater tools to law enforcement and others to properly regulate, control, contain these drugs and if need be, make arrests and hopefully prosecutions.”

Now, the PA Harm Reduction Network is responding.

PA Harm Reduction Networks Executive Director Carla Sofronski says seeing through the lens of law enforcement instead of public health increases criminal penalties for users. 

“For a public health crisis, we need a public health approach that is led by leaders in science and the medical community,” said Sofronski.

She said the answer is not law enforcement.

“We have learned time and time again, as history continues to repeat itself. That that is not the way to go. That’s how we actually got here in the first place,” Sofronski said.

She is referring to the opioid crisis that pushed Pennsylvania to have the 4th highest overdose rate, said Sofronski.

Sofronski says before scheduling drugs, we need research, transparency and to keep all tools on the table, even overdose prevention centers, something the Shapiro Administration does not believe should even be legal.