Pennsylvania Opioid Epidemic: How Its Impacting Communities

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Pennsylvania is near the top of the list of states that have felt the devastating impact of the opioid epidemic. The CDC has released a variety of alarming statistics, including:

  • The number of drug overdose deaths increased by 44.1% from 2015 to 2016 statewide
  • In 2016, Pennsylvania had the fourth-highest rate of drug overdose deaths
  • Nearly 38 of every 100,000 Pennsylvanians died of a drug overdose in 2016

It can be easy to see these statistics and recognize their significance without truly grasping the impact that opioids have had on communities throughout Pennsylvania. After all, they are just numbers. However, each of these numbers represents an individual, a family, and a community who have lost someone close to them due to their addiction to opioids.

In some cases, these individuals are children, who through no fault of their own, are born with a higher vulnerability to addiction. These children might experience frequent relocations, inconsistency in discipline, and an exposure to inappropriate or dangerous incidents that can shape who they become as they grow into adulthood.

On April 30, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette shared the story of a family in Armstrong County, about an hour northeast of Pittsburgh, in a long-form article called “Keely and the Vial”. With opioid addiction present among multiple generations within the family tree, “Keely and the Vial” examines the struggle of raising children in a community where prescription pills and heroin are readily available.

This story brings a human element to opioid addiction, and focuses not only on those who have used or are currently using opioids, but on those generations who are now growing up in a family and community landscape shaped by drug use.

Increased accessibility to behavioral healthcare – such as detox, rehab, or medication assisted treatment – can help those who are currently struggling with an addiction. Education and prevention are important for those generations who are now growing up among adults who currently are or who have dealt with an opioid addiction in the past.

If you or someone you know is struggling from an addiction to opioids, call Pyramid Healthcare for help today at (888) 694-9996.

Written by Rebecca Jones, Marketing Specialist

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