Pennsylvania sees more stimulant use as opioid deaths drop

Local News

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – While overdoses were down in Pennsylvania in 2018, there are indications those numbers could be going up due to a rise in stimulant use.

Overdoses in 2018 were down 18 percent from 2017. Officials credit much of that to the steps that have been taken to combat opioid use in the state.

But while deaths involving opioids are down, officials say they are hearing reports that deaths involving stimulants are on the rise. That increase is leading some counties to report a preliminary rise in overdose deaths in 2019.

“We are, unfortunately, seeing a surge in stimulant use, particularly cocaine and methamphetamine,” said Jennifer Smith, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. “What we’re hearing from coroners is that there is a lot of polysubstance use, so, individuals using both opioids and stimulants.”

The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs will host a symposium in November to try to figure out the best ways to combat the rise in stimulant use.

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