Feb. 22, 2024

NEW CASTLE – The escalating drug crisis that has gripped communities not only in western Pennsylvania, but throughout the Commonwealth, was the focus of a House Republican Policy Committee hearing Tuesday in New Castle, Lawrence County. The hearing was hosted by Rep. Marla Brown (R-Lawrence), along with committee Chairman Joshua D. Kail (R-Beaver/Washington).

“Addiction is complex and multifaceted, and it is devastating our communities,” said Brown. “We must determine comprehensive strategies for recovery now before more of our loved ones perish. By convening policymakers, experts, and community stakeholders, the committee aims to develop effective solutions that will empower individuals to break free from the chains of addiction and create a healthier, safer Pennsylvania.”

In Lawrence County, there were 63 drug-related deaths last year and 85 drug-related deaths in 2022. In addition, the county topped the statewide list of drug overdose deaths per 10,000 people last year, according to figures from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The state report lists the 19 counties with death rates higher than the state average, and Lawrence County had the most at 9.8. In comparison, Philadelphia County had nine deaths per 10,000, Allegheny had 5.6 deaths per 10,000.

The hearing, “A State Lost in Addiction: Pennsylvania’s Path to Recovery,” featured the following testifiers: 
Josh Lamancusa, district attorney for Lawrence County.
Richard M. Johnson D-ABMDI, coroner for Lawrence County.
Vaughn Crisci, father of children with substance use disorder.
Angelo Papa, attorney.
Dr. Mark Matta, chief executive officer for Psych Med Associates, P.C.

All the testifiers stated with a comprehensive approach to recovery, there is great hope for those sick and suffering. 

“Addiction does not discriminate,” said Kail. “Addiction is a disease affecting all walks of life. It does not matter your age, sex or economic standing. You and your loved ones deserve support, and we, as policymakers, want to ensure that this support is accessible no matter where you are in Pennsylvania.”

Representative Marla Brown
9th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Rick Leiner
717.260.6437 (office), 717.497.8478 (cell)
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