PA House committee holds hearing on “heroin epidemic”

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

There is a growing problem of heroin abuse in Pennsylvania. Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee invited the public to a forum at Harrisburg High to discuss the disturbing trend.

Sharon LeGore’s 18-year-old daughter Angela died of a heroin overdose on February 10, 1998. LeGore never thought she’d still be talking about heroin 16 years later.

“The problem of heroin is at an epidemic level and the issue needs to be addressed, from the state legislators, the house, down to our house,” said LeGore, who founded the non-profit advocacy group Moms Tell, following her daughter’s death.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Ron Marsico, R-105th District, agrees and that’s why he invited LeGore to join lawmakers, law enforcement, doctors and other community advocates for a hearing to discuss how to tackle heroin and drug abuse from all perspectives.

“It’s something that if we don’t all band together to fight, then we’re going to lose the war and we can’t have that because our children are dying,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

According to Pennsylvania State Police Col. Frank Noonan, heroin seizures in the state have increased 175 percent from 2010 to 2012. Evidence shows that much of it is coming from Mexico.

LeGore said her daughter’s drug use progressed from marijuana and huffing to the heroin that would eventually take her life. She urges parents not to ignore even the slightest change in their child.

“I always tell parents, trust your gut, if you really believe something is going on, you need to check it out,” she said. “Addiction is a terrible disease. Educate yourself about it.”

This was the last of three public hearings held by the House Judiciary Committee on the issue. The next step would be to determine where money needs to go to fight the problem and what laws need to be proposed that could help.