The recent widespread spike in drug-related overdoses in the region hit hard this weekend in Lancaster County.
Lancaster EMS officials reported emergency responses to 23 patient overdoses this weekend.
C. Robert May, executive director of LEMSA, the county’s busiest emergency services provider, reported three of those patients were deceased upon arrival.
May said heroin abuse is suspected in the 23 responses, which happened between Friday and Monday morning. Fifteen of those responses happened between Friday night and Saturday.
“Unfortunately, this news is not really a surprise,” District Attorney Craig Stedman said Monday morning. “We have seen a significant spike in heroin abuse locally and all over the country.”
Many, but not all of the calls, were in Lancaster city, May reported.
Lancaster EMS covers all or parts of at least 25 municipalities in Lancaster County, including Lancaster city.
The rash follows reported spikes in recent weeks in York County and Philadelphia.
Philadelphia health officials pointed to a 16-hour span on Dec. 1 when 12 people died of suspected drug overdose.
As many as 35 people died in Philadelphia overdoses between Dec. 1 and 5, according to reports.
In York County, three people died of suspected overdose in five hours on Nov. 30, according to Pamela L. Gay, that county’s coroner.
“This simply reinforces the urgency for all aspects of our society to unite to combat this scourge. We need to combine enforcement with treatment as well as prevention and education,” Stedman said. “My office is committed to doing all we can in these critical areas, but we cannot do it alone.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @BrettHambright