Rural areas fighting drug epidemic struggle to make treatment available
Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | 04.18.17
Photo by Ben Allen/WITF
At a town hall in Elizabethville, Dauphin County on the drug epidemic, a crowd of about 50 listened to panelists speak about their experiences.
(Elizabethville, Dauphin County) -- For people trying to recover from addiction to opioids like heroin, living in a rural area can add more stress.
The concerns at a town hall in the rural northern Dauphin County community of Elizabethville came from two directions.
One: there aren't the medical facilities to treat people who are addicted.
And two: that support groups haven't formed, and some in the community don't want to acknowledge the drug addiction problem.
Lynette James from Halifax says her 25-year-old son is getting help for his addiction, but she's nervous to have him return to the area.
"I think a lot of people up here still kinda turn their heads to it. They don't want to admit that there is a problem here. I didn't see a lot of people here that I know, but I know there are a lot of addiction problems up here," says James.
James says the only community supports are a single weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meeting - something that she says isn't best for those in recovery from heroin or other opioids.
"I notice a lot of times when I talk to addicts, they don't seem to want to go to an AA meeting. So it is difficult," she adds.
James says families also need support, but the closest group is in Harrisburg, about 45 minutes away.
Meanwhile, on the medical side, Dauphin County says its contracted to have a mobile treatment unit visit the northern part of the county on a weekly basis.
91 people died from drug overdoses in Dauphin County last year, a more than 20 percent increase over 2015.
Published in Healthcare Transformation