There was a full house at the Montgomery Township Municipal building on Saturday as the community group D.A.R.A. or the Drug Addiction Resource Alliance held a public forum on the opioid epidemic.
Many of those that were there came to learn more about the overdose antidote Narcan. Montgomery County Commissioner Chair Val Arkoosh said it is helping to hold the line on drug deaths.
“In 2017 our Police, just police, not EMS or anyone else, administered 367 doses of Narcan, resulting in 358 lives saved.
Pennsylvania Executive Deputy Attorney General Rob Reed said law enforcement officials are changing the way they look at addiction.
“Some people may still disagree, but the overwhelming medical science says this is a brain disease. It is not a choice. Once you’re an addict, you’re not choosing to shoot up with heroin, because of that we have to view it as a public health crisis.”
Retired Police Lieutenant, Ray Wilson told the crowd about the drug overdose death of his son.
“For the rest of our lives we will have to live with the what ifs and what could have been, the guilt and we will miss him for the rest of our life.”
There were about 5,400 drug overdose deaths statewide in 2017. Local District Justice Andrea Duffy, founder of the Drug Addiction Resource Alliance, says someone is in her courtroom everyday because of opioid abuse and the decisions that lead to crime because of the addiction.