Bartolotta Urges Residents to Participate in Tele-Town Hall on PA Heroin/Opioid Crisis

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania’s heroin and opioid epidemic will be the focus of a second special Telephone Town Hall meeting, to be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, October 17th from the State Capitol in Harrisburg, according to Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46).

Bartolotta is asking area residents to participate in the event, which is part of a statewide effort to gather information on how the growing epidemic is affecting Pennsylvania and what can be done to save lives and battle addiction. It is the second of five ‘regional’ tele-town halls scheduled around the state in the coming months.

Those interested in taking part can sign up ahead of time at www.acommonwealthcrisis.com to receive a phone call a few moments before the town hall meeting begins. Individuals can also sign up by texting the keyword “talkheroin” to the number 828282. Audio streaming for the tele-town hall will also be available online.

The event will be hosted by Senator Gene Yaw (R-23), who chairs the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a bipartisan, bicameral legislative research agency of the General Assembly.  He will be joined by experts from across the Commonwealth including Dr. Nancy Falvo, Professor of Nursing at Clarion University, and Eugene A. Vittone II, District Attorney, Washington County.

Nearly 3,400 drug-related overdose deaths were reported in Pennsylvania in 2015, an increase of more than 23 percent over 2014. In approximately four out of five of those deaths, the presence of heroin or at least one opioid was reported.

Earlier this year, the General Assembly voted to include $15 million in the state budget to combat heroin and opioid addiction, including funds for emergency addiction treatment and behavioral health services.

New laws were also passed to provide legal protection for witnesses or Good Samaritans providing medical help at the scene of an overdose and allow naloxone, a synthetic drug that blocks opiate receptors in the nervous system and known as the brand name Narcan, to be prescribed to a third party, such as a friend or family member, and administered by law enforcement and firefighters.

CONTACT: Colleen Greer (717) 787-1463