Opioids – Pennsylvania’s #1 public health and public safety crisis
The heroin and opioid epidemic is the number one public health and public safety challenge facing Pennsylvania. In 2016, 4,642 Pennsylvanians died from overdoses – a 37 percent increase from the year before. An average of 14 Pennsylvanians die every day from overdose, and based on available data from 2017 the death toll will only continue to rise.
Opioids come in many different forms with many different names, including OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Codeine, Hydrocodone, Morphine and Heroin
Health effects of prolonged opioid use:
- Liver disease
- Heart disease
- Hepatitis C (through shared needles)
- HIV/AIDS (through shared needles)
- Brain damage
- Death (by overdose)
Opioids are often stolen from someone with a legitimate prescription. Seventy percent of people that illegally use prescription drugs admit getting them from family and friends. The number one source of drugs for teenagers is home medicine cabinets.
Opioids can also be obtained when a person is legally prescribed a drug and then abuses it, prescriptions are forged and altered, or the medications are purchased from a dealer illegally selling prescription drugs.