Nearly 200 attend forum on heroin, opioid abuse

Nearly 200 people turned out Tuesday night to take part in “Heroin: A Community Conversation,” a public forum on the opioid and heroin epidemic, held at Penn Manor High School.

The event included a panel discussion with health care and counseling professionals and recovering addicts, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Panelists included Jack Pacewicz and Rebecca Moyer, who shared their personal experiences with addiction and recovery, and Dr. Joseph Troncale, who talked about the signs, symptoms and origins of addiction. John Balzer, alcohol and drug counselor at Millersville University, and Amy Sechrist, prevention specialist at Compass Mark, talked about accessing treatment and the importance of prevention.

“Not doing prevention for a public health crisis is madness,” Sechrist told the crowd. “Addiction is fatal if left untreated. Prevention works.”

State Sen. Scott Martin and state Rep. Bryan Cutler sponsored the event, which was coordinated by the Lancaster County Anti-Heroin Task Force, Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine, Compass Mark,  the Lancaster County Mayor’s Association and Millersville Mayor Dick Moriarty.

Addiction counseling and recovery providers shared information and resources with attendees from booths set up outside the auditorium.

Drug overdose deaths in Lancaster County have more than tripled over the past four years, due largely to the widespread availability of heroin. In the past year, several Penn Manor graduates have died from overdoses.

Community members interested in additional education outreach on the heroin/opioid epidemic are urged to contact Dr. Mike Leichliter, Penn Manor superintendent, at mike.leichliter@pennmanor.net or (717) 872-9500, ext. 2223.

Thanks to all who participated in this important discussion. Let’s keep the conversation going!

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