Bethlehem Press

Thursday, May 23, 2019

From hell and back

Monday, April 1, 2019 by CHRIS PARKER in Local News

Naloxone saved his life after OD on fentanyl-laced heroin

The skyrocketing numbers of fatal overdoses of heroin and other opioids could be even worse were it not for naloxone.

Commonly known by its brand name, Narcan, naloxone is a medication that can reverse an overdose that is caused by an opioid drug such as heroin, Oxycontin or tramadol.

Most often administered through the nose via preloaded syringe, naloxone works by blocking the effects of opioids on the brain. It restores breathing within 2 to 8 minutes.

‘This is a disease’ When the Opioid issue hits home

Thursday, April 4, 2019 by CHRIS PARKER in Local News

On April 1, 2016, John Sienkiewicz spoke three words to his daughter, Alexandria, known as Alex, as she headed out with friends.

“I love you.”

Hours later, Alex, 23, would be found in her bedroom, dead from an overdose of fentanyl, a powerful narcotic painkiller.

The young woman was among 4,884 people in Pennsylvania who died drug-related deaths that year.

Every day that year, 13 people in the commonwealth died from drug-related causes, according to the latest data available from the Pennsylvania State Coroners Association.

MAT: A shot at a new life for addicts

Thursday, April 4, 2019 by CHRIS PARKER in Local News

Schuylkill County prison inmates who are recovering from opioid addiction and motivated to stay clean now have another tool to help them rebuild their lives.

In addition to counseling, offenders close to the ends of their sentences may qualify for injections of Vivitrol, a drug that blocks the effects of opioids.

Vivitrol, the brand name of naltrexone, is a promising weapon in the war on addiction.

Opioid epidemic The littlest victims

Monday, March 18, 2019 by CHRIS PARKER in Local News

Infants born to mothers who use drugs face uphill battle

A baby boy born at Reading Hospital in 2017 came into the world the fourth child of a woman struggling with addiction to methamphetamine and heroin.

The little one had a tough road ahead, but was blessed with a dedicated hospital staff and loving adoptive parents.

The hospital staff held and soothed him as he was weaned from the drugs passed to him by his mother. Once home, his adoptive parents, Millicent M. and Steven C. Himmelreich, continued the love and patience he needed to thrive.

Cascade of illicit drugs

Thursday, March 21, 2019 by CHRIS PARKER in Local News

Fentanyl widely available

Opioids are most often the drug of choice in the staggering increase in the numbers of overdose deaths across the nation in recent years.

“Over the past 10 years, the drug landscape in the United States has shifted, with the opioid threat – including controlled prescription drugs, fentanyl and other synthetic opioids and heroin – reaching epidemic levels and impacting significant portions of the United States,” said U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Patrick J. Trainor.

Help available for moms with addiction

Monday, March 18, 2019 by CHRIS PARKER in Local News

Imagine being a young woman, heavy with child, and struggling with addiction.

You work at a couple of low wage jobs to support your family, and haven’t even seen a doctor yet because you don’t have time or transportation, and you’re terrified you’ll be arrested and have your children taken away from you because of your drug dependence.

There is help.

Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Connections program is designed for women who want to make life better for their children and themselves.

Evolving drugs pose challenges

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 by CHRIS PARKER in Local News

Stemming the tide of illicit opioids has the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration playing whack-a-mole with constantly evolving synthetic drugs.

Those who illegally make fentanyl, a powerful painkiller 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, and increasingly seen in overdose deaths, kept one step ahead of law enforcement by making minute changes to the formula.

Voting machines to be replaced by 2020

Tuesday, May 8, 2018 by CHRIS PARKER in Local News

Counties worry about who will foot the bill

Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration told Pennsylvania’s counties Thursday that he wants them to replace their electronic voting systems with machines that leave a verifiable paper trail by the end of 2019, although counties warned that the price tag is a major problem.

Counties estimate the cost will be $125 million and said the greatest single impediment to buying new voting machines is the lack of a funding source.

In Schuylkill County, which has 363 machines, Commissioners’ Chairman George F. Halcovage Jr. fears taxpayers will be stuck with the bill for replacements.

Warning: deadly drug surfacing

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 by CHRIS PARKER in Local News

Animal sedative often disguised as heroin

Schuylkill County coroner Dr. David J. Moylan has sat with dozens of distraught families, gently telling them their daughters or sons died of drug overdoses.

Most of the deaths — 77 in Schuylkill County alone last year — were from opiates such as heroin, morphine and oxycodone.

Now, a new, even more deadly drug is surfacing: carfentanil, an animal sedative.

“The gold standard for pain relief that all narcotics are compared to is morphine,” Moylan said.

Carfentanil, he added, is “10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl.”

Bills target domestic violence

Thursday, April 20, 2017 by CHRIS PARKER in Local News

Over the past 10 years, more than 1,600 people have died in domestic violence-related incidents in Pennsylvania.

On Tuesday, state senators and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence stepped up to defend victims of abuse.

The coalition and senators unveiled four pieces of proposed legislation aimed at curbing domestic violence and better protecting its victims by strengthening the state’s Protection from Abuse Act.