YORK COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — York County is seeing an uptick in drug overdoses during the pandemic. The county’s district attorney Dave Sunday said it could be even worse if officers weren’t using Narcan.
So far this year he said York County has seen about 130 overdose deaths. That figure is noticeably higher than the 94 deaths accounted for at the same time last year.
“Numbers were going down for a while, then with the onset of COVID, we saw numbers go up,” Sunday said.
The responsibility of aid often falls on officers to treat people who are overdosing.
“Our law enforcement officers, in addition to all of their other duties, are at the same time working day-in and day-out working to save people’s lives that are in the throes of addiction,” Sunday said.
The job is getting even harder now that fentanyl use is creeping up. Sunday says that almost 99% of overdose deaths in the county involve fentanyl in some way.
“The impact is tremendously devastating because it makes that heroin, which already was dangerous to begin with, even more deadly,” he said.
That means York County’s police officers are using more Narcan than ever to reverse overdoses and save lives.
“Through the use of Narcan, through saving people’s lives you’re giving them an opportunity to change their lives around, and recovery does happen,” Sunday said.
He said officers in York County have saved hundreds of people by using Narcan, although not everyone can be saved.
“Addiction is addiction. Not everybody becomes sober, not everyone recovers the same as other people,” Sunday said. “Unfortunately more often than not that leads to death.
York County does offer a recovery program called Warm Hand- Off, where a user is paired with a counselor to discuss options that can help them get clean. Those programs are entirely voluntary.