The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


July 24, 2013

String of local drug overdoses prompts many to seek treatment

SUNBURY — At least 70 people have sought drug treatment assistance for themselves or loved ones in the past 45 days as Northumberland County may be facing a potential outbreak in overdoses.

“It’s horrific and people don’t realize how bad it really is,” Glenda Bonetti, Northumberland County drug and alcohol administrator, said Tuesday. “It has gotten worse every year.”

County officials are worried after learning of at least five drug overdoses in recent months.

City police have yet to say what caused the death of J. Craig Landis, 33, of Selinsgrove, whose body was discovered Sunday morning in the backyard of a home on South Front Street in Sunbury. They did say his death was suspicious.

Bonetti, who has been working with addicts for 17 years, said it’s not only a bad batch of heroin that is the problem, but that those who are using are uneducated about the consequences of shooting up.

“There are really no programs out there in the schools,” she said. “When I was younger, heroin was considered the dirty drug. We are not just seeing heroin users, but we are seeing different drugs people are addicted to.”

Since July 1, Bonetti’s office has received 20 referrals and, in the past 45 days, 70 — which is a huge increase in numbers, she said.

While police had said a bad batch of heroin was in the Valley, reported by “people on the street,” Bonetti said it’s the way dealers are manipulating it.

“Users get hooked on pure heroin and then they get heroin that is cut down,” she said. “Once they get a cut-down version, their bodies can’t handle it.”

Heroin is costing some Valley addicts more than $300 a day, she said.

“We see users come in with a 30-bag-a-day habit,” she said. “They are shooting it all in a day.”

The price is astronomical for addicts to support a daily habit. Bonetti said users are stealing from friends and family to get the cash or in some cases, resorting to prostitution.

“You would be shocked at what is going on outside,” she said of Sunbury. “People are not realizing this is a problem and it’s a lot bigger than people think. A lot of times we see users who have stolen money from people they know, but charges are never put on them because they want those people to just get help.

“The drug courts work because those are people who have been caught either stealing or selling and are sitting on state prison’s front door.”

Addicts who are sent to White Deer Run treatment center, in Allenwood, usually don’t leave cured, Bonetti said.

“The success rate is 7 percent,” she said. “These are people who have yet to be caught in any illegal acts, so they are still not getting that push to get cured.”

According to the state Department of Health, in 2010, the most recent numbers the state has posted, Northumberland County had 13 drug-related deaths. Snyder had three, Union one and Montour reported none.

Numbers for 2011 through 2013 have not been released.

Sunbury Police Chief Steve Mazzeo said he has seen at least two per year in the city alone.


Text Only
  • 28-mile cross walk steps off in Northumberland

    SUNBURY — Two “cross walks” this morning, including a 28-mile trek from Northumberland to Beaver Springs, are among the highlights of Easter activities and services in the Valley.

    April 18, 2014

  • rsstrike18a.jpg Picketing begins at 4 Danville schools

    [LAST UPDATED: 2:38 A.M., 4/18/14]

    DANVILLE — It started like any other school day during the year, with teachers up early and arriving at school at 7:30 in the morning.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Line Mountain board, teachers to talk Tuesday

    MANDATA — Line Mountain school board President Troy Laudenslager is far more optimistic this week than he has been as the board and the Line Mountain Education Association head into their first contract negotiation session in three months.

    April 18, 2014

  • Good Morning Central Susquehanna Valley

    Today is Good Friday, April 18, the 108th day of 2014. There are 257 days left in the year. On April 18, 1934, the first laundromat (called a “Washateria”) was opened by John F. Cantrell in Fort Worth, Texas; four electric washing machines were rented to members of the public on an hourly basis.

    April 18, 2014

  • Injured bicyclist can't believe car didn't stop

    SUNBURY — Brandon Reigle has one question for the driver and passengers who left him in the middle of the road after hitting the bicyclist with a car Wednesday: Why?

    April 17, 2014

  • Petitions target 'toxic few' on Midd-West board

    MIDDLEBURG — More than 400 names have been gathered on two petitions to remove a pair of Midd-West school directors after some members of the public claimed the district has been in disarray for quite some time.

    April 17, 2014

  • crash18.jpg Snyder County collision injures driver, kills two horses

    PORT TREVORTON — A car struck two horses on a rural road in Snyder County Thursday afternoon, injuring the driver and resulting in the death of the horses.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Strike17.jpg Danville teachers hit picket lines

    DANVILLE - It started like any other school day during the year, with teachers up early and arriving at school at 7:30 in the morning.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Snook suspension now a mystery

    MIDDLEBURG — Acting Midd-West Superintendent Daphne Snook is confused about what the school board is alleging she did that led to her suspension without pay, saying she hasn’t received anything in writing. “Nothing I have been told by the board in any way makes me believe that I violated district policy or the law,” Snook said by email Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Danville teacher strike starts today

    DANVILLE — Nearly four hours of negotiations could not prevent the first teacher strike at Danville in decades.

    April 17, 2014

The Daily Marquee

Are you among those who will be completing and mailing your tax forms today?

No - Already Filed
     View Results
Photo Galleries
The Valley


Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.