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Our Local Heroin Addiction

Our Local Heroin Addiction

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Panel held at St. Francis focuses on emerging drug trends


By: Maria Miller

LORETTO, Pa. -- At a special seminar Friday, more than 100 law enforcement officers and community leaders discussed the challenges of emerging drugs that are becoming easier to obtain.
Heroin was a part of that discussion and a big reason why organizers planned the event, but also of importance were synthetic and plant -based drugs, they said, which more and more teens and college students are easily getting their hands on.
"There's websites that can tell people how to make them, how to buy them, what they are, what they do how to use them. It goes into great detail," said Dr. Kenneth Dickinson, a counselor and prevention specialist from Philadelphia who led Thursday's discussion.  
Bath salts, e-cigarette vaporizers and certain plants that are not yet regulated in the United States were all topics at the event held on the Saint Francis University campus.
"WJAC-TV has led this cause and each day we see in the newspaper, the news channels, that there are deaths, there are overdoses and certainly it has brought the continued message to us that we need to do something," said David Wilson, a counselor at the university and one of the people who organized the event.
Nearly 150 law enforcement officers, educators and community leaders from across the state and into Ohio were in attendance to learn about the new trends and what to look for in drugs that often don't leave any trace.  
"The reason a lot of people use these drugs is it's a way for them to fool the bladder police," Dickinson said. "They want to get high and they're into the drug culture. They will use compounds like this because they're new and the labs don't have the tests for them."
"It's overwhelming for clinicians and overwhelming for us in the field to address this issue and keep up with this and that's the reason from this one -day workshop," Wilson said.
The university said it's not yet sure whether or not it'll make Friday's discussion an annual event but said it's a topic that needs continued attention.

Panel held at St. Francis focuses on emerging drug trends

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