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The Opioid Epidemic

As the opioid epidemic grips the nation, communities struggle to develop strategies to deal with this widespread problem. Hampden Township residents and visitors are not immune to this public health and safety issue. In response, we are offering this resource page as an initial source to answer questions, and understand the township’s response to the crisis.

Opioids are a classification of natural or synthetic drugs derived from the Opium Poppy. Common drugs of this class are morphine, heroin, methadone, hydrocodone, and oxycodone.

The Hampden Township Police Department’s strategy is to address the crisis by understanding that the opioid epidemic can affect all people regardless of gender, race, cultural background, or socio-economic status. It is a multi-faceted problem that will require a multi-faceted response through law enforcement, education, interdiction, and involvement in the health services field.

This resource page is intended to demonstrate our comprehensive strategy and as the opioid epidemic changes, so will the resources and responses to it. Please check back periodically as the information here will change in response to new resources, education and law enforcement approaches.

Naloxone

In cooperation with the Cumberland County District Attorneys Office and the Geisinger Health System, officers of the Hampden Township Police Department carry Naloxone. This drug works to reverse the opioid’s slowing of the patient’s respiratory system. While quick and proper application of this drug negates the opioid’s effects, it does not work for other drug classifications. There are no negative side effects of Naloxone and does not harm a person who wasn’t under the influence of an opioid drug.

Drug Take Back Box

Hampden Township was one of the first municipalities in the area to offer a Drug Take Back Box. This large, green metal receptacle is located in the lobby of the police station and is available to all residents during normal business hours.

Residents can simply come in and deposit their expired or unwanted medications in the box. We do not accept liquids. The box is routinely emptied and the medications are destroyed.

Strategies such as drug take back boxes seek to remove the supply from the current or would be opioid abuser. Many opioid addictions begin with prescription drug abuse that progress toward the use of heroin. By removing access to excess prescription medication, we hope to remove the temptation to abuse these drugs.

Cumberland County Drug Task Force

Beginning in October 2016, the Hampden Township Police Department has entered into an agreement with the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office to dedicate a full-time officer to the Drug Task Force. By having an officer dedicated full-time to the Task Force, Hampden Township has immediate access to a wide variety of drug intelligence and the ability to tap directly into a network of drug investigators to work on information or investigations originating out of the township.

It is the policy of the department to have our Drug Task Force representative to be assigned to all overdose death investigations and to act on all drug information developed by our patrol officers with the intent of building criminal investigations against the dealers of these drugs.

Education

The links below provide information on the epidemic, treatment options, Naloxone use in Pennsylvania and other issues that our residents may find helpful.

US Health and Human Services:
https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/about-the-epidemic/index.html

Pa Resources:
http://www.pa.gov/collections/opioid-epidemic/

Naloxone:
http://www.ddap.pa.gov/overdose/Pages/Naloxone_Reversal.aspx

Pa Medical Society Resource Guide for Opioid Addiction:
https://www.pamedsoc.org/tools-you-can-use/topics/opioids/general/OpioidResources