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This Is How Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Is Looking Forward To Combat The State’s Opiate Epidemic

Josh Shapiro, the current Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, recently asked local lawmakers to spare up over $2 million dollars in order to combat the opioid crisis that has been plaguing the state. According to the Attorney General, a majority of the people in the state who suffer an accidental death are those who overdose on an opiate. The AG recently met with Dawn Futrell, a woman from Altoona whose son died of a heroin overdose back in May 2016. She believes that addiction is not crime but a disease, so it needs to be treated accordingly. She wants the people of Pennsylvania to have access to more treatment options.

Josh Shapiro even has an entire plan to combat the opiate epidemic that has been ravaging Pennsylvania. First and foremost, he wants to ensure that first responders have prompt access to the life-saving, anti-overdose medication naloxone, which also comes under the brand name Narcan. Currently, the medication is quite expensive so it is carried by only a small number of first responders. Much like Brad Schimel, the Attorney General of Wisconsin who made deal with the manufacturer of Narcan to make the medication available at a discounted price, Josh Shapiro is looking forward to make similar negotiations.

However, one of the current top priorities the Office of Attorney General is to get heroin off the streets but cutting off its supply. High-level drug traffickers are not only behind the heroin and other drugs on street, but also the drug-related violence taking place in the state’s communities, so they are going to be aggressively prosecuted from hereon. Since resources will be the key to effectively targeting drug traffickers, Josh Shapiro will be collaborating with the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Heroin Task Force.

Josh Shapiro also intends to shut down illegal drug markets. He is planning to get his office’s Municipal Drug Task Force to focus on implementing a research-based initiative to fight this epidemic supply-side. It has also become a known fact that many people begin abusing heroin after getting addicted to opioid painkillers that were prescribed to them by a doctor.

Thus, the AG will also collaborate with the state’s medical community to ensure that such prescription opioid medications do not get over-prescribed. Pennsylvania’s Schedule II controlled substances prescription database will be used to analyze and keep track of any deliberate over-prescription that might be taking place. Drug boxes will also be set up throughout the state in collaboration with District Attorneys and local law enforcement agencies, so that locals are able to get rid of unused medications. Even the marketing practices that are being employed by drug companies will be monitored and examined to ensure no potent medications are being pushed for unapproved uses.

The current federal and state laws are one of the things that hinder people from seeking treatment, so better addiction treatment laws are also going to be enforced. Even the state’s criminal justice system is going to get reformed so that treatment and recovery become top priorities. Last but not least, and perhaps above all, the Attorney General will shift the Education and Outreach Unit’s emphasis towards educating the local children about the dangers of heroin and opioids, which is definitely of utmost importance.


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