Recently, Shane Scanlon from the District Attorney’s Office in Lackawanna County presented an assembly for grades nine through 12 at Carbondale Area Jr.-Sr. High School, titled “Heroin Hits Home.” Scanlon shared some facts and statistics about heroin use in Lackawanna County, along with some moving stories of those who have lost their lives or loved ones to heroin. One fact highlighted was that someone dies from a heroin overdose every three days in Lackawanna County.
“Eight out of 10 heroin users started their habit by using prescription pain killers,” he said. Many times, pain killers are prescribed for ailments or students steal pain killers prescribed for their parents or grandparents and before you know it, they are addicted. They can’t afford to keep taking the expensive pain medication, so they end up going to the street to buy heroin because they get the same effects and it’s cheaper.
Two other statistics cited were that Pennsylvania is the third-leading state in the nation for overall heroin deaths and that overdose deaths have doubled in the last year in Lackawanna County. Scanlon assured his audience that many of the young men and women we are losing to heroin come from good families. It’s a serious problem that is affecting all levels of society.
“We are literally wiping out a generation with this epidemic,” Scanlon said, to underscore the severity of the addiction issue.
Scanlon applauded the Lackawanna County Drug Treatment Court which enrolls offenders in a rehab program rather than just putting them in jail. The treatment program lasts 18 months and has been successful, he said.
As part of the presentation, Joe Kane, a clinical administrator at Clearbrook Treatment Centers, spoke about his own battle with drug addiction.
The DA’s office has a Facebook page and offers a website — heroinhitshome.com — where students can get all the tools they need for helping themselves or friends and family that they know have a drug or alcohol addiction problem.