Drug overdose victims are recognized in Chester County

CHESTER COUNTY, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) —  Over 100 purple pinwheels were used this week to commemorate the lives of Chester County residents lost to overdoses for International Overdose Awareness Day.

Liz Pettit says she lost her son Zach last year to a drug overdose. He was one of the 112 Chester County residents to die in 2018 of a drug overdose, who Pettit says were victims of the opioid epidemic that’s ravaged the country.

“The drugs, the opioids are highly addictive,” she said. “They hijack that brain and it’s not a choice.”

Michelle Kichline, chair of the Chester County Commissioners, says the county wants to hold pharmaceutical companies responsible for the damage they’ve caused through their marketing campaigns that claimed opioids were not addictive.

“Because cities and counties across the country are seeking redress from the opioid industry for the cost of the opioid epidemic, over 1,600 lawsuits have come together in the US District Court for the northern district of Ohio,” she said.

Pettit says doctors overprescribing drugs, coupled with accessibility has fueled the drug culture.

“And then that gets expensive and heroin’s $10 a baggie,” she said. “They get hooked — they can’t afford the street pills, so they go to heroin.”

Kichline says this fall some of the cases will be tried in Ohio, the results of which could determine what happens next in regard to the Chester County lawsuits.

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