DA supports legislative push against opioid manufacturers

Cambria County, Pa. - Governor Tom Wolf is urging lawmakers to take a stand against the opioid epidemic and prescription drug manufacturers.

Monday, he encouraged the General Assembly to pass several bills that would limit opioid prescriptions to seven days, require drug education in schools and oversee recovery centers that receive taxpayer money.

Across the country, Attorneys General are launching investigations into opioid manufacturers and distributors. According to Attorney General Josh Shapiro, 80 percent of heroin addicts in Pennsylvania began using due to prescription drug abuse.

Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan wants to prevent that abuse before it starts.

"What it comes down to is supply and demand. For us to get out of this opioid crisis, we have to cut the supply. Where is most of the supply coming from? It's coming from prescription medication being prescribed at unbelievable levels to people who are becoming addicted," said Callihan.

If cut off from their supply, Callihan said prescription drug addicts will turn to other sources.

"When they can't get the medication anymore or the doctors terminated their prescription, then they jump to heroin because it's cheaper," Callihan said.

A vicious cycle that directly impacts crime, according to Callihan.

"People are going to be stealing or committing acts of violence to get money or to get drugs," said Callihan.

Callihan said the drug epidemic could get worse, before it gets better.

"I'm very hopeful that we can get this problem under control. In the interim, we have to deal with many, many people who are addicted," said Callihan.

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