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Stop overdoses in PA: get help now week

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The state of Pennsylvania is bringing attention to the opioid crisis this week. Monday starts Stop Overdoses in PA: Get Help Now Week.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdoses in Pennsylvania have declined by 2.8% from March 2017 to March 2018. Cambria County works to combat the lives lost to opioids in many ways through the Cambria County Drug Coalition and law enforcement.

Richland Township police Detective Thomas Keirn said this week is important to educate the community on awareness of the opioid epidemic and to teach them how they can help themselves or others with addiction.

Police officers in Cambria County carry naloxone, which is a synthetic drug that can help reverse an opioid overdose in an emergency situation. Keirn has witnessed firsthand just how effective it can be.

"It's pretty miraculous how it brings people right back in just a few seconds. So it's appropriate that we have that lifesaving tool, in law enforcement and certainly our first responders, medical personnel and so forth. It's very important to have that at this point and time," said Keirn.

Free naloxone kits will be available to the public for free on Dec. 13 at the Department of Health office in Johnstown.

Cambria County also has drug takeback boxes, which ensure unused or unwanted drugs don't get into the wrong hands. One of the locations is right in the Richland Township Police Department's lobby.

Overdoses happen at higher numbers during the holiday season, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. If you or someone you know is looking for recovery resources, you can call the PA Get Help Now hotline at 1-800-662-HELP.

Additionally, if you do not feel comfortable talking on the phone, you can text 717-216-0905.

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