LancasterThriving_WinterSpring2017 - 46

This article
highlights and
supports the
work that's
being done in the community
to satisfy the Health & Safety
dimensions of our
Prosperity Indicators.

Heroin: A Silent
Threat to Business
and Community
Heroin and other opioids contributed to more than
100 drug-overdose deaths last year in Lancaster County.
More people died here in overdoses than from murders
and vehicle crashes combined.
THE PROBLEM
The opioid epidemic's impact on local commerce and
public safety, while not as easily quantified, is detrimental
for certain.
Countless crimes, many serious, are
rooted to the still-escalating scourge that
has resulted in more drug abusers also
becoming street dealers and heroin prices
at all-time lows locally.
That presents a harrowing scenario and uphill
battle going forward for law-enforcers, medical
professionals, community leaders - and business owners.
Impact on an abuser and his/her family and social circles
are fairly obvious. But the economic intrusion is also
far-reaching.
For a small restaurant business in the East Petersburg area,
the impact was devastating.
Last year, an employee dealing with addiction issues

46 | LANCASTERTHRIVING! | Winter/Spring2017

intentionally left a door unlocked after closing time. His
friend, also addicted to opioids, burglarized the restaurant,
stealing thousands of dollars and causing thousands of
dollars more in damages.
The restaurant, left in financial hardship, was closed within
six months.
That is a direct-impact example, and the epidemic presents
other threats to tourism and recreation.
No one wants to visit an area where they feel unsafe.
No one wants to visit a town or city where drug use is
visible in alleys and behind buildings.
In addition to the impact on our economy and
safety of our businesses, drug addiction
can have a significant impact on private
health insurance. According to a report
by Fair Health, published in August 2016
on CNBC, "Opioid-related insurance claims rose more than
3,000 percent 2007 to 2014," the number of private health


http://www.lancasterchamber.com/article.aspx?page=prosperity-indicators#.WJt1IYWcFaQ http://www.lancasterchamber.com/article.aspx?page=prosperity-indicators#.WJt1IYWcFaQ

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