Nine people died in Lancaster County of drug overdose in a recent seven-day period – a stark reminder that the opioid epidemic is continuing to leave its mark across the county.
The nine deaths, between Dec. 11 and 17, happened in eight different Lancaster County municipalities, according to the county coroner’s office.
Law-enforcement officials continue to investigate what prompted the recent spike in deaths.
Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman noted that each overdose death in the county – now over 120 for the year – comes under review by law-enforcement for investigation and potential criminal charges.
“This is not a flavor-of-the-week phenomena; this epidemic is proving to have staying power,” District Attorney Stedman said Wednesday. “It remains at the forefront of law-enforcement objectives.
“This recent rash of deaths is just another call to action for our residents.”
The recent deaths were reported in Lancaster city, but also in suburban areas, such as Elizabeth and Pequea townships.
(Additional information about the decedents is not being disclosed so to protect their identity.)
Municipal departments and Pennsylvania State Police, in conjunction with the Lancaster County Drug Task Force and Lancaster city police’s Selective Enforcement Unit, investigate all overdose deaths for potential charges.
Dealers who provide drugs to individuals who die after consuming those substances face charges, including felony drug delivery resulting in death.
“Part of the fight against this ongoing epidemic is targeting the predatory dealers and holding them criminally responsible,” Stedman said. “They are well aware of what they are selling and the devastation being caused.”
Assistant District Attorney Barry Goldman oversees the recent delivery-related cases and ongoing investigations.
Since 2016, more than 25 individuals have been charged regarding fatal overdoses in Lancaster County.
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