LANCASTER, Pa. - Narcan is a drug that reverses opioid overdoses. It is now available in some drug stores and is being used by local law enforcement agencies. Lancaster EMS says between February 1 and October 1, of this year, they have responded to over 500 overdose calls. Narcan has been used 163 times.
A panel discussion called Heroin: The New Suburban High took place in Lancaster Wednesday night. Panel members, including Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman, said heroin is an epidemic in the area. Stedman is pleased with the amount of lives Narcan has saved. It is not a solution to the problem. He says there needs to be more prevention, education and in some cases incarceration.
Dr. Joseph Garbely, from Caron Treatment Centers, says once someone's life is saved, there is still more that needs to be done.
"Treatment has to be the next step. Without treatment, the chances of succeeding are not good," he said.
He adds fifty percent of people addicted to heroin were once addicted to pain killers.
"The conversion is often times from oral opioids to heroin because they out stripped their financial resources to get the oral opioids," he added.
Matthew Delp went down that path. He began using drugs as a teenager.
"I liked to use cocaine so I could drink more. I liked to drink cause it was fun. What I found was Percocet made it so I wasn't hung over in the morning," he said.
He was addicted to heroin for 18 months.
"The things that I did, the places I ended up, and the person I became is someone I never would have imagined for myself," said Delp.
The law caught up with him and he went to treatment.
"We need people to be able to intervene on us and save us because it's something that we cannot figure out on our own," said Delp.
Narcan is sometimes part of the process.
"I know some people who have experienced it and I still know them today so I would support it," he said.