LANCASTER, Pa. Dec 14 2016 Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman says he can't understate how bad the heroin and drug overdose epidemic is in his county.
This weekend alone in Lancaster County emergency officials responded to 23 drug-related overdoses. Three of those people have died, according to the District Attorney's Office.
"It's more than we normally get in one weekend," Stedman says. "I think 15 of those were in one, 24-hour period."
Stedman says he's had to learn a lot about the overdose epidemic, namely with heroin. It's a lesson he didn't foresee learning about when he started here in the office 25 years ago.
"We need to take more steps in every area that we can to help avoid weekends like this," he says.
In a new report , the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there were nearly 13,000 heroin-related deaths in 2015. There were 30,000 deaths for opioid overdoses as a whole, according to the national report. The numbers have now passed deaths by guns for the first time in our nation's history.
These statistics Stedman believes are actually understating the severity problem.
"It doesn't surprise me. More people have been dying in Lancaster County from drug overdoses than all the homicides, combine any weapon, and car crashes. [I think] linking it with firearms, it's far worse than that in Lancaster County."
Stedman says his office is committed to fighting the problem, he believes it will get worse before it gets better.