Task Force fights rising heroin death toll

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The York County Coroner is estimating the heroin death toll has now doubled so far this year from what it was last year.

Coroner Pam Gay and the Heroin Task Force gave a public presentation in Hellam Township, York County Wednesday night to educate the public on the signs of heroin use in a loved one.

She says the heroin death toll is now 31 confirmed overdoses, and 5 suspected overdoses. The total number of overdoses last year was 17. The victims ranged mostly from their 20s to 40s; three of the deaths were high-schoolers.

The State House just approved Senate Bill 1164, the Good Samaritan Law, which would protect those who call for help when they see someone overdosing.

"They’re afraid if they turn them in, they're going to get arrested, they're going to get in trouble, but there's the Good Samaritan Law, which they won't be prosecuted," says Charlene Sciaretta of the Heroin Task Force.

Sciaretta brought listeners to tears with the story of her son Danny, who overdosed 10 years ago at age 26. She says those with him were scared to call for help, even when they saw signs of overdose: shortness of breath, constricted pupils, sudden changes in behavior, nodding off.

"Danny could have lived, they testified in the courtroom, if the ambulance had come there with the Narcan, it would've been enough time to get him to York Hospital," she says.

The Good Samaritan Law is expected to be signed by Governor Tom Corbett next week.

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