HARRISBURG – State Senator Gene Yaw (R-23) will be participating in a public discussion Monday, April 11th outlining the seriousness and magnitude of the heroin epidemic in Central Pennsylvania.
Yaw, who serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, will join Union County Commissioner Preston Boop during the meeting hosted by the Susquehanna Valley Conservatives to offer a statewide perspective on the heroin and opioid crisis. The discussion is scheduled to begin at 7PM in the Baylor Conference Room, Best Western Country Cupboard Inn, Lewisburg.
“Drug addiction does not discriminate,” Sen. Yaw said. “It covers all ages, races, genders and socioeconomic groups. If we are going to continue to address this issue statewide, we really need to change the mind-sets and attitudes towards addiction.”
Monday’s meeting is “Part 1” of the Susquehanna Valley Conservatives effort to raise public awareness on the heroin epidemic. Planning is in progress to host a much more comprehensive forum that will bring together representatives from government, law enforcement, health care, public education, and business. The forum is set to take place later this summer or in the early fall.
“Susquehanna Valley Conservatives wants to raise public awareness of this issue,” according to Stan Zellers, President of the Susquehanna Valley Conservatives. “Our interest in doing so was sparked by a recent newspaper article in which James Kelly, Northumberland County Coroner, called for such an event due to the recent spate of heroin deaths in his county. We feel that legislative, legal, judicial, educational, and insurance reforms can all play a role in making the situation better,” Zellers added.
According to Sen. Yaw, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania has remained at the forefront of the heroin crisis issuing two substantive reports and holding eight public hearings across the state. The next public hearing is slated for April 21st at Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital in Mifflin County.
“Anyone interested in this topic can visit my website where we have over 50 hours of verbal and written testimony, along with other beneficial information,” Yaw added. “If there is one thing we’ve learned over the course of three years of public hearings, it is that a community-wide effort is needed to address the heroin and opioid epidemic. I commend the SVC for their willingness to host such an event, and I look forward to participating in Monday’s discussion.”
Rita Zielonis, Chief of Staff