Senator Doug Mastriano, sponsor of Opiate Mapping Legislation, joined by Representative Rob Kauffman, right, and staff member on left at Capitol Media Center.

HARRISBURG – Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33) was joined by law enforcement and family members of drug overdose victims on Tuesday at a news conference to celebrate the implementation of an improved overdose mapping and data tracking system in Pennsylvania and its role in combatting the opioid and fentanyl crisis and saving lives.

The news conference took place Tuesday, April 25, at 12:15 p.m. in the Capitol Media Center, Harrisburg.

Mastriano was the sponsor of the bill that became Act 158 of 2022, which went into effect in January 2023. The new law requires law enforcement to report and document overdose incidents in a statewide tracking system. Overdoses must be reported within 72 hours.

Rep. Rob Kauffman remarked on how the “root cause” of the fentanyl crisis is not being addressed; so it falls on local authorities to deal with the repercussions.

The standardized use of a statewide system was implemented to help local officials identify emerging trends, mobilize an emergency response, and alert law enforcement and EMS to the existence of fentanyl-laced drugs in a region.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show more than 100,000 people died nationwide in 2021 due to fentanyl and opioid overdoses, a 15% increase over 2020. Pennsylvania ranks third nationwide for overdose fatalities.

Pennsylvania is third nationally in overdose deaths, with almost 5,200 deaths in 2020, and almost 5,400 deaths in 2021.

Speakers at the news conference included:

• Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33)

• State Rep. Rob Kauffman (R-89), Minority Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee

• Jeremiah Daley, executive director of the Liberty Mid Atlantic High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area

Following the speakers, Mastriano presented ceremonial copies of Act 158 to family members of overdose victims, youth advocacy groups, clergy of faith-based treatment programs, and representatives from drug addiction recovery organizations.

Laura Shanafelter thanks Sen Mastriano with a tearful hug. She lost her 18-year-old son, Tyler, to fentanyl. One point she made: “Please stop calling it an ‘overdose’…there is no non-lethal amount of fentanyl.”

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Harrisburg’s News Source

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