Forum on heroin crisis brings emotional discussion

READING, Pa. - Wendy Loranzo did what no parent should ever do: say goodbye to a child. Her only daughter, Elizabeth, died from a fentanyl overdose in March. She was 25.

"I would have never expected my daughter would pass of heroin," said Loranzo. "I'm now added to a group that I never thought I'd be added to."

Almost six months to the day of her daughter's death, Loranzo shared her story. She said her daughter would occasionally bring up using heroin, and also thought she was battling depression. 

Her story struck a chord with many at the Reading Public Library on Monday, at a public forum focused on the measures being taken to combat drug abuse.

"Reading has a significant issue in terms of opioids and heroin and overdoses," said Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania's physician general and acting secretary of health.

One overdose happened at the library on South Fifth Street in May. Officials said a man came in, walked into the men's room, and died of an overdose. 

"It was pretty difficult to have happen, and it was certainly grim," said Nathaniel Thomas of the Reading Public Library, "but coming out of that, I think we're stronger in facing what's happening with the opioids in our city."

"Reading Hospital is doing a fantastic job," said Levine, "and they're really getting up to three quarters of patients who might be in their emergency department into life-saving substance abuse treatment."

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