Drug syringe and cooked heroin on spoon. Evdokimov Maxim/Shutterstock
4:54 PM 02/22/2018
Two elderly patients at an assisted living facility in Pennsylvania were recently cited after staff found them wandering around a public area high on heroin.
Police responded to a call at the Elderwood Senior Living Center in Lancaster County, after the pair, “were observed under the influence of heroin in a public area, disturbing others.” The responding officer charged 79-year-old Margery Cook and 69-year-old Jay Ellis Epler with public drunkenness over the bizarre incident, reports Trib Live.
Police do not know how the seniors obtained the heroin, but note that opioid addiction is prevalent throughout Pennsylvania. Officials say the case shows the pervasive nature of the opioid epidemic, which is impacting all age groups across the socioeconomic spectrum.
The addiction crisis continues to wreak havoc in Pennsylvania, which lost 4,642 residents to drug overdoses in 2016. Officials estimate that roughly 3,900 of the deaths were related to opioids.
Nationally, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death for Americans under age 50, killing more than 64,000 people in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Officials say the epidemic is contributing to declining life expectancy in the U.S. Life expectancy dropped for the second consecutive year in 2016 for the first time since an outbreak of influenza in 1962 and 1963.
Data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse released Sept. 7 paints a grim outlook for the future of the drug crisis ravaging American communities.
The study predicts the addiction epidemic in America will continue to deteriorate, pushing drug deaths to an estimated 71,600 in 2017. If the estimates prove accurate, 2017 will be the second year in a row drug deaths surpass U.S. casualties from the Vietnam War.
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