Bethlehem Press

Thursday, April 27, 2017

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.

Feds release pipeline statement

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

A proposed 118-mile natural gas pipeline that would snake through parts of Carbon, Luzerne and Northampton counties would “result in some adverse environmental impacts,” the federal government says.

But those impacts would be reduced to “less-than-significant levels” provided the pipeline company follows the government’s recommendations and its own proposed mitigation measures.

That’s the bottom line of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s final environmental impact statement of the PennEast Pipeline Project.

Bills target domestic violence

Thursday, April 6, 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.

Signs of heroin use

Thursday, July 23, 2015 by CHRIS PARKER in Local News

Your son is behaving a bit oddly as of late. His grades are dropping, he's sleeping more than usual, he's become apathetic about sports and other activities he was once passionate about, and the money from his part-time job vanishes with astonishing speed, with nothing to show for it.

Straightening his room, you find that missing silver teaspoon, its bowl blackened from a flame held underneath.

A multicolored glass pipe turns up in his sock drawer, and you find a small plastic bag coated with white powder between the mattress and box spring.

Faylynne's story - Addiction takes its toll

Thursday, July 16, 2015 by CHRIS PARKER in Local News

At 30, Faylynne Harrison's body is decades older than her years. Her liver is shot, and the nerves in her hands and arms are damaged.

Sitting on the front porch of her mother's home in Tamaqua, Harrison is matter-of-fact about the toll that years of addiction to heroin has taken on her life.

Sometimes, tears break through the tough-girl facade.

Heroin: Many names, forms

Thursday, July 16, 2015 by CHRIS PARKER in Local News

What, exactly, is heroin?

Heroin is known on the street as black tar, H, horse, junk, chiva, hell dust, thunder skag or smack. The federal government classifies heroin as a schedule 1 controlled substance, meaning it has no legal use.

It can be in the form of a white or brown powder, or a black, tarry goo. Derived from morphine, extracted from the seeds of the Asian poppy plant, heroin can be ingested by mixing it with water, heating it and injecting it. Or it can be snorted or smoked.

Heroin's effects

HEROIN ADDICTION: A GROWING EPIDEMIC

Thursday, July 16, 2015 by CHRIS PARKER in Local News

Heroin use is hitting an all-time high in the United States.

Between 2007 and 2012, the numbers of people using the drug each year rose from 373,000 to 669,000, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

In 2011, 4.2 million Americans aged 12 or older (or 1.6 percent) had used heroin at least once in their lives, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

America's addiction to heroin and other opioids has reached tsunami proportions, experts say. And overdose deaths are riding the crest of that wave.

Watch your speed in E-Z Pass lane

Thursday, March 26, 2015 by CHRIS PARKER in Local News

The Pennsylvania Turnpike's electronic toll transponder, or E-ZPass, allows drivers to pay without stopping to hand a collector change.

But not so fast: The Turnpike Commission wants people to remember the speed limit for E-ZPass lanes is 5 mph.

Turnpike Commission spokesman Carl DeFebo says safety is the driving force behind the commission's decision to install more speed limit and pedestrian crossing signs, and digital signs that show drivers how fast they are going through E-ZPass lanes.

Pros, cons of immunization

Thursday, March 5, 2015 by CHRIS PARKER in Local News

Liz Pinkey and husband Stephen Behun III's decision to vaccinate their three children had its roots in a teacher's remark and babies' headstones.

Pinkey once wrote a paper on childhood diseases that her teacher said would educate her classmates about illnesses they had never heard of, like measles, mumps, pertussis and diphtheria.

Pinkey knew about them, from reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's stories of the old days. Later, classes in immunology and virology prompted her to earn a degree in biology.