Lancaster County reports drop in overdose deaths


Through the first half of the year, opioid overdoses are down in Lancaster County.

According to a report from the county coroner’s office, there have been 52 overdose deaths. In 2017 there were 167 for the entire year.

“If the trend holds, we’re on track to cut the death rate in half this year,” Lancaster County Commissioner Josh Parsons said.

Parsons is also one of the leaders of Lancaster County Joining Forces, a group designed to fight the opioid crisis.

Parsons points to more first responders carrying the life-saving drug Narcan as one of the reasons Lancaster County seems to have success with the heroin crisis.

“It used to just be EMS,” Parsons said. “Now it’s police and fire as well for the most part.”

Lancaster County Joining Forces, which started a little more than a year ago, has also helped to establish a “warm handoff” program at county hospitals. The program helps overdoes victims get treatment.

“The police are doing a very good job at reducing the amount of heroin on the streets,” Parsons added. “Also, the medical community, we’ve been very engaged with the medical community about prescriptions and reducing the amount of prescriptions and trying to use alternate methods.”

Parsons also said there is more of an effort to educate folks.

Parsons said while there has been success, there is a reason the numbers could skyrocket again.

“We’re cautious because if you get a bad batch of heroin you can have that death rate go back up, ” he said.

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