KENNETT SQUARE (August 31, 2017) – State Senator Andy Dinniman today joined Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and other state and local officials in discussing solutions to combat the epidemic of opioid abuse and addiction facing communities throughout the Commonwealth.

Pictured (from left to right) state Rep. Steve Barrar, Pa. Attorney General Josh Shapiro, and Senator Dinniman.

“It was a productive and comprehensive discussion,” Dinniman said. “At the end of the day, solving the opioid crisis is not going to be a one-agency issue. Rather, its is going to take multi-pronged and cooperative effort between law enforcement personnel, public health officials, educators and others. And one of this morning’s overriding themes was how can we take what is working in Chester County and replicate it throughout the state.”

The discussion, which coincided with International Overdose Awareness Day, took place at Kennett Fire Company’s Red Clay Room, and included almost the entire Chester County legislative delegation, state Rep. Steve Barrar, state Rep. John Lawrence, state Rep. Harry Lewis, state Rep. Becky Corbin, state Rep. Warren Kampf, and state Rep. Carolyn Comitta. Also in attendance were local police chiefs from throughout Chester County and Chester County Commissioners Kathi Cozzone and Terence Farrell.

Barrar opened the discussion by highlighting the widespread nature of the opioid crisis.

“I can’t think of a family that hasn’t been affected by this,” he said.

Shapiro cited his office’s and other local and state law enforcement departments’ efforts to crack down on illegal drug dealers amid the continued use and abuse of prescription medicine.

“We’ve arrested 844 drug dealers since I took office eight months ago. We could do that every day on and on, but at the end of the day it’s not going to solve it,” he said. “Prescription drugs are the root cause of so many of these problems.”

He also discussed efforts to deactivate and dispose of unwanted or unused prescription drugs, holding opioid manufacturers accountable, and working to improve access to addiction treatment and recovery options.

Cozzone expressed concerns about young people and students being prescribed opioids for sports injuries.

Dinniman discussed Senate Bill 535, legislation that calls for opioid awareness and addiction prevention education in Pennsylvania schools. That bill was incorporated in the Pennsylvania School Code, which recently passed the Senate.

Thursday morning’s discussion was one of several events involving combatting opioid abuse in Chester County that day. Later that afternoon, Dinniman joined Shapiro to announce a series of roundtable discussions at Pennsylvania colleges and institutes of higher education aimed at addressing drug and alcohol abuse, mental health and sexual assault on campus.

Thursday evening, Dinniman was set to attend a candlelight vigil in recognition of the lives lost to drug overdose. That event, organized by Kacie’s Cause, is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the First Baptist Church on State Street in Kennett Square.

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