Help needed from governor down to fight heroin crisis

Attacking the heroin epidemic locally is not a politically partisan issue.

That much was proven last week when Gov. Tom Wolf, out of touch with most of our region’s needs in his protracted state budget battle with the Legislature, met with Project Bald Eagle and other local officials to listen to ideas related to fighting the heroin epidemic here and statewide.

The roundtable discussion was hosted by state Sen. Gene Yaw, a Loyalsock Township Republican who has been very active on the state level regarding the heroin crisis.

Yaw said beating heroin is not a question of money, but using the money correctly.

“There are programs out there that don’t work,” he commented, singling out Project Bald Eagle as a coalition that does work as an umbrella organization to encompass other programs.

We are proud of what has been done locally to attack the heroin epidemic, but we are not kidding ourselves. There are seven overdoses a day in Pennsylvania, and some of them are happening here.

Project Bald Eagle’s engineering of a help network that crosses all facets of our community is the correct approach. But more education is needed, especially in our schools. And strict prison penalties for dealers are an absolute necessity.

We hope Gov. Wolf’s visit will prompt correctly appointed help from the state. We don’t need a whole new bureaucracy to defeat the problem. What is necessary is proper application of state resources where they make practical sense, because a relatively small investment of state dollars can save larger multi-institutional costs in the future.