MERCER, Pa. (WKBN)- Deaths are increasing exponentially at the hands of drugs, specifically fentanyl.
In Mercer County, officials say they have seen record numbers in 2021 now going into 2022. The rising cases are alarming. Locally, there are resources available to help anyone battling addiction.
Officials with Mercer County Behavioral Health provide resources for those struggling with addiction and their families. They say that right now fentanyl is the leading killer in drug overdoses.
The drug is highly potent. In many cases, health officials say fatal doses of fentanyl are found in other drugs without the user knowing.
“We see fentanyl, not only being cut in with heroin, but also other types of substances, including being cut into marijuana,” said Tracy Bornick of Mercer County Behavioral Health.
Services at Mercer County Behavioral Health are available regardless of your financial situation. The agency receives money from the state to help cover the cost of those seeking treatment.
State officials are also doing what they can to help slow down the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania. Governor Tom Wolf recently expanded a standing order to continue combating the opioid crisis.
This expansion includes an eight-milligram naloxone nasal spray. Members of the general public can print a copy of the order and present it at their local pharmacy to obtain life-saving naloxone.
Pennsylvania’s Physician General Doctor Denise Johnson says that naloxone saves lives and that it is an essential tool to addressing the opioid crisis in the state. According to the FDA, Naloxone can reverse an opioid overdose quickly. It can help restore breathing in individuals who are not breathing or has slowed breathing.
Bornick said that there is no one right answer to combating drug use and addiction. However, education in the community is a place to start.
“We’re looking at reducing stigma throughout the community, so people are more open and willing to go into treatment. So yes, I think it’s it’s a multifaceted way to really reduce that overdose number,” Bornick said.
Bornick added that drugs being purchased easily online is making it more difficult to reduce use.
Mercer County Behavioral Health is available online and on the phone 24/7. If you or a loved one are seeking treatment options, you can give the agency a call at 724-662-2227.