Heroin Easier to Get than Wine and Cheaper than Beer in PA
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A shocking investigative report released last Tuesday revealed that is easier for young people in Pennsylvania to buy heroin than a bottle of wine, and that the price of heroin is cheaper than a six-pack of beer.
Since 1990, the number of overdose deaths has consistently risen in rural areas of the state. As of 2011, the state has experienced 13 deaths per every 100,000 citizens, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania reported.
“Heroin is cheaper and easier for young people to obtain than alcohol,” said State Sen. Gene Yaw, the Republican chairman of the center, a joint legislative state agency.
In Pennsylvania, Yaw said a small packet of heroin costs between $5 and $10, and delivers a high lasting four to five hours. The report, based on evidence submitted in hearings across the state this summer, listed Cambria County in central Pennsylvania as having the highest overdose death rate outside of Philadelphia, 22.6 deaths per 100,000 population. That is equal to Philadelphia’s drug death rate, the report said.
Yaw suggested Cambria County’s drug death rate was not caused by any special factors, but state Representative Bryan Barbin, a Democrat, was not quite as sure. Barbin said Johnstown is easily accessible from heroin distribution centers like the city of Baltimore. Dealing heroin is an attractive career option for those with few economic prospects, he said, especially those with drug crime records.
The report asked for a number of legislative actions, including making it easier to prosecute dealers whose clients die of overdoses. The report also called for a "Good Samaritan" law assuring that people who seek help for overdose victims will not face criminal charges. According to the report, putting more addicts in jail will not solve the problem.
State Representative Richard Marabito, a Democrat, said Pennsylvania has about 760,000 residents with addiction problems, but that only about 52,000 are receiving treatment. Only one in eight addicts can be helped with existing state resources, the report said.