Many have speculated that the drug's low cost and widespread availability are major factors in the state's staggeringly high overdose rates. The Center for Rural Pennsylvania's report shows that in rural areas during 2011, 13 of every 100,000 deaths were overdoses, up from one per 100,000 in 1990.
In Pennsylvania, [State Senator Gene] 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.
According to the report, the high number of overdoses in Pennsylvania are also a result of poor treatment options. From Reuters:
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.
The report suggests that to curtail the number of Pennsylvania heroin overdoses, a "Good Samaritan" law should be in place to guarantee "people who seek help for overdose victims will not face criminal charges."
[Image via AP]