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Centre County DA, Local Police Investigating Three Suspected Overdose Deaths In One Week

In this file photo from July 2018, Centre County District Attorney Bernie Cantorna spoke at a town hall in Philipsburg on opioids.
Min Xian

The Centre County District Attorney’s office is investigating three suspected drug overdose deaths that happened in the past week. While the toxicology results are still pending, District Attorney Bernie Cantorna is warning the public about the risk of lethal drugs being sold.

“The reality is, for those who have a substance use disorder, I want them to be aware and I want them to be concerned that there may be drugs being sold that might take their life, and it might only be one injection that does so," Cantorna said.

He said he cannot say at this point if the deaths are connected.

Two of the fatal overdoses happened in Patton Township. Cantorna declined to say where the third took place. He said he was not providing more details out of respect to the families.

He urged the public and family and friends of people who may be using to become educated and call 911 if there’s an overdose. Naloxone, which can be used to reverse a drug overdose, is also available at pharmacies without a prescription.

“You can’t ignore the possibility that somebody has cut opioids with something that’s really lethal that is exposing a large amount of people to death or near death experiences," Cantorna said. "We’ve not experienced that, but other jurisdictions have.”

There were 22 drug overdose deaths in Centre County last year. This year, there have been four confirmed drug overdoses and one suicide overdose.

Local police are investigating the current suspected overdoses.

Anne Danahy has been a reporter at WPSU since fall 2017. Before crossing over to radio, she was a reporter at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, and she worked in communications at Penn State. She is married with cats.
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