Illegal drug use is a multifaceted killer in the region
So far in 2017, there has been only one heroine overdose death in Lycoming County, according to those who lead Project Bald Eagle, the coalition fighting the opioid epidemic in the region.
Unfortunately, that is far from the full story on illegal drug tragedy.
And the rest of the story indicates more of the same when it comes to death by drug overdose in Lycoming County.
There are 10 confirmed drug overdose deaths so far in 2017, with toxicology confirmation awaited on an 11th, according to Lycoming County Coroner Charles E. Kiessling Jr.
The county is on track to match 2016, when there were 35 drug overdose deaths, 18 heroin-related.
The latest drug scourge is fentanyl, which is an opioid analgesic similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more powerful, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
And for some unknown reason, cocaine is making a comeback, according to Lycoming County Chief Adult Probation Officer Ed McCoy.
None of this is to denigrate the efforts of Project Bald Eagle, a much-needed coalition meant to curb illicit drug use, and specifically the heroin problem, in the region.
It’s just a sobering reminder that the health dangers of illegal drug use are the product of a very dangerous smorgasbord. People who are addicted to drugs will find a pathway to use something, anything, when they are in the grip of the addiction.
Stopping the usage and the resulting addiction is the only real way to plug all the holes in the dike that keeps the insanity of drug addiction that floods our region in so many debilitating ways.
All efforts toward that goal are worthy.
And a positive attitude is welcome. But we must never believe for a second that this drug war is over until all data say it is.