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Ways to battle heroin addiction focus of hearing

Hearing on drug addiction

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, Pa. - Officials in Schuylkill County gathered Tuesday to discuss ways to tackling a growing problem of heroin addiction.

The goal is to gather information about the newest drug concerns and prevention methods: specifically heroin and opioid addiction.

Statistics show 100 Americans die every day of a drug overdose -- now it's the leading cause of accidental death in the United States.

In Pennsylvania, numbers are even more startling.

The Keystone State ranks seventh in the nation for drug-related overdose deaths, according to federal statistics.

Recently the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a bipartisan legislative research agency, began conducting a series of statewide hearings to help combat the issue.

Ideas garnered from past hearings include:
* Granting immunity from prosecution in certain drug crimes when a person helps an overdose victim;
* Legalizing the FDA-approved drug Naloxone, which can help restart a victim's breathing and
* Improving the statewide prescription drug database.

Several state lawmakers conducted the hearing on the Schuylkill County campus of Penn State University in Schuylkill Haven.

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