McNeill hosts second town hall on heroin and opioid addiction

WHITEHALL, March 30 – State Rep. Daniel McNeill, D-Lehigh, today hosted recovery experts, leaders of support groups, grieving parents, addicts in recovery, and concerned citizens from across the Lehigh Valley at his second town hall meeting on the heroin and opioid epidemic plaguing the area.


McNeill was joined by Detective Sgt. Jeffrey Taylor, Drug Enforcement Agency; Nancy Howe of G.R.A.S.P. (Grief Recovery After A Substance Passing); Donna Jacobsen, parent leader of the Lehigh Valley Parent and Family Support Group; Devin Reaves, Young People in Recovery; Chelsea Ruane and Sarah McCann who are addicts in long-term recovery, and parents who have lost children to fatal heroin overdoses.


Several concerned parents joined the discussion to find out how their children are becoming addicted and what options are available for treatment. 


McNeill said he hosted a second town hall meeting because his first event in February was so highly attended, and he wants to get as many people involved in discussions about this crisis as possible.


“We need to keep this conversation going in order to educate everyone about the seriousness of this issue,” McNeill said. “I am hopeful that these events give parents the courage and tools they need to seek help for their children who may be addicted. If we can prevent one young life from being lost, it will be worth it.” 


McNeill cited a recently-released study by the Trust for America's Health, which found that Pennsylvania leads the nation with 30.3 overdose deaths per 100,000 young-adult male residents.


“Our children are dying at an alarming rate and we must do all we can to help them,” McNeill said. “We must focus on prevention by talking to our children while they are young in an effort to prevent them from trying drugs. For those who are already using, we need to get them into rehab, and keep them in rehab, so they can break their addiction.”