York County to hold opiate awareness meeting Jan. 24

York County is holding an awareness meeting to discuss the county's opioid epidemic.

The meeting, hosted by ThankBlueYorkPA, a community initiative to support York County police officers, will be held 5-6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24, at the Nefra Communication Center, 3433 E. Market St. 

York County District Attorney Dave Sunday and Coroner Pam Gay will be speaking about the seriousness of the epidemic, which is affecting many lives throughout the county. 

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf shows the document he signed declaring a state of emergency in the state's fight against heroin and opioid addiction during a news conference at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. In the background are Acting Secretary of Health and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine, left, and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Director Richard D. Flinn Jr. Wolf signed an order for the 90-day disaster declaration, widening access to the state's prescription drug monitoring program and making it easier for medical professionals to get people into drug treatment more quickly. (Blaine T. Shahan/LNP via AP)

More:Pennsylvania issues disaster declaration over opioid crisis

All ages are encouraged to attend the meeting.

For more information, visit ThankBlueYorkPA's Facebook page or the event Facebook page.

Background: Local officials stepped up to fight the opioid epidemic in recent months when York County sued two dozen  manufacturers, distributors and physicians Dec. 8.

The 17 opioid manufacturers, four out-of-state physicians and three national drug-distribution companies that were accused of aggressively marketing their drugs and lying about the risks of long-term opioid use in the lawsuit are no stranger to these allegations — many of the companies have paid out large settlements before.

More:Opioid companies sued by York County no strangers to lawsuits, settlements

More:Heroin-related deaths in York County spike in 2017 despite reduction efforts

In the past year, dozens of state attorneys general and county district attorneys have filed suits against Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Allegran — four of the largest prescription drug conglomerates in the world. Of the 17 manufacturers sued by York County, 14 are subsidiaries of those conglomerates.

The county continues to see a rise in opioid abuse, with 19 suspected opioid overdose deaths in November, according to Gay — the highest number she had seen in a single month.

York County confirmed 115 heroin/fentanyl-related deaths and 28 suspected deaths in 2017, according to coroner Pam Gay. 

Last year, there were 39 more confirmed deaths than 2016's total of 76. In  2015, the total was 65;  in 2014, it was  62.