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Chester County Press

It takes a whole community

07/05/2016 11:33AM ● By Steven Hoffman

It takes a whole community

In the current issue of Kennett Square Today, we have a story about how, more than a decade ago, a group of citizens in the East Linden neighborhood of Kennett Square banded together to combat both poverty and the open-air drug trade—two plagues that were threatening the future of one of the town's most diverse neighborhoods. The residents started programs to directly assist young people in the neighborhood. They reached out to families on East Linden and the surrounding streets to let them know that someone cared. They picked up the trash on the streets. They worked with the Kennett Square Police Department to stop drug dealers from plying their trade in the neighborhood. Over the course of many years, these efforts on many fronts produced results.

In this issue of the Chester County Press, we have another story—with very different circumstances—but serves as another illustration of citizens coming together to solve a problem: One woman saw the deteriorating conditions of the Mount Calvary Cemetery and felt compelled to start cleaning the cemetery up. Now, more volunteers have stepped forward to help with the effort to remove the brush, trash, and debris because they, too, see a need to preserve, protect, and care for the final resting spot of more than 100 people, many of them soldiers in the Civil War, World War I, or World War II.

When Kennett Area Community Service recently opened its new Resource Center a few weeks ago, executive director Melanie Weiler shared these words of wisdom: “The Resource Center is all about getting the resources to the people who need them. One agency can't end poverty. The government can't end poverty. It takes a whole community to end poverty.”

It takes a whole community. It always does.

Availability of naloxone is saving lives

According to a press release from Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan, 46 out of 47 law enforcement agencies in Chester County now have agreements to carry naloxone. Naloxone, which is sold under the brand name Narcan, is the medication used by first-responders to counter the effects of overdoses caused by heroin and prescription opioids.

The rising threat of heroin, especially among young people in the suburbs, has been well-documented in recent years. State lawmakers and law enforcement agencies throughout the state worked collaboratively to develop a “Good Samaritan Law” that, among other things, allows police and other first-responders to carry naloxone.

In many cases, the immediate access to naloxone to counteract the effects of dangerous drugs has proven to be life-saving.

There have been 58 lives saved by police using naloxone in Chester County alone, a staggering figure that hints at how serious the heroin epidemic is.

In those critical moments when a person's life hangs in the balance, moral judgments need to be set aside. With dozens of Chester County residents losing their lives to drug-related overdoses each year, the availability of naloxone is saving lives. Kudos to the state lawmakers, law enforcement agencies, and first responders who utilize this effective tool so that lives can be saved.

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