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Residents aim to curb growing heroin problem

By Jennifer Joas, Reporter, JJoas@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 01 2014 09:35:07 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 01 2014 10:13:12 PM CDT

Three deaths in a matter of weeks; heroin and prescription drug abuse is rocking the streets of Topton.

TOPTON, Pa. -

Three deaths in a matter of weeks; heroin and prescription drug abuse is rocking the streets of Topton.

"He was a good friend of my number two son and he was at my house often. And the night that he died, it was really terrible," said Bob Brugger of Topton.

It was a wake-up call to hundreds of community members.

"I was heartbroken. And the fact that it could have been my brother," said Coral Christman of Topton.

They want their community to change before it is too late.

"Our community is very small, but we have a lot of heart and I feel like we really need to stick together as a community to find out the underlying problems here," said Sloane Radcliffe of Topton.

That is why Brandywine Heights Area School District organized a public meeting to educate the public on the growing drug problem and also ask for input on what can be done to solve it.

After the school district spoke with community members in the auditorium, they broke them up into small groups to try and get more ideas on how to combat the heroin issue.

"We have to do this for the safety of our kids because really the kids that are going through our school district are the ones that will be the future leaders of our country," said Brandywine Heights Superintendent Andrew Potteiger.

The district is hoping to develop community action groups that will help address specific problems in the community.

But in addition to action from residents, many people we spoke with said police or drug task force agencies need to get heroin off the streets.

"The kids can get this really cheaply. It is a hell of a lot cheaper than marijuana used to be. And this will kill them. This has got to stop," said Brugger.

The school district plans to compile a list of action groups and continue the community involvement in the future.