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With municipalities across the county, state and nation struggling to cope with an ever-worsening opioid crisis, West York Mayor Shawn Mauck wants to open a communitywide dialogue about how his borough’s residents can try to stem the tide. 

Six people have died in West York this year from opioid overdoses, so there is no better time than the present to start talking about what residents and officials can do, the mayor said. 

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data compiled in June by The New York Times, opioid overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans younger than 50.

“It’s an epidemic for every single family — it’s touched almost every family in some sort of way,” Mauck said. 

To begin the dialogue, Mauck is hosting a “Roundtable on Heroin and Opioid Addiction” from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, at the West York Borough Building at 1381 W. Poplar St.

Mauck said he has extended invitations to community leaders, including members of Not One More and York County Coroner Pam Gay and Chief Deputy Prosecutor Dave Sunday of the York Regional Opioid Collaborative, to speak at the roundtable and answer any questions residents may have. 

West York Borough Police Detective K-9 Prince, who will be used to track down missing persons after training, will be at the event to meet borough residents, Mauck said.

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Mauck said he expects residents to have questions about how the West York Police Department handles calls for opioid overdoses, what warning signs indicate opioid use and what the the borough is doing to fight the proliferation of opioid abuse and overdose deaths. 

“This tragedy strikes throughout the borough,” Mauck said, adding that he hopes the roundtable will provide residents with ways to constructively grieve and how to turn that grief into activism.

“I hope community leaders, parents, everyday citizens attend. It affects everyone across the spectrum,” Mauck said.

Stop the Violence: Four days before Mauck’s opioid discussion, the first-year mayor will lead a “Stop the Violence” event in the 1100 block of West King Street hosted by Casa De Reconciliación.

After a fatal shooting Aug. 25 at the Kingston House just a block from the planned event, Mauck said he wants to encourage neighbors to get to know each other and the police officers who protect them to create a better working relationship between the two groups. 

More: Police: Woman killed West York man after argument

“We felt that we needed to get out in front of the topic and really start in our neighborhoods bordering the city to basically raise awareness for residents to understand what they can do to push back against this type of violence,” Mauck said.  

The opioid roundtable and “Stop the Violence” event are part of a “multipronged approach” by West York officials to re-create a sense of ownership and awareness among residents, Mauck said.

More: West York chief to host 'Resolution Sessions'

For the past several years, borough officials made very little effort to reach out to residents, Mauck said, so he and West York Police Chief Matt Millsaps are trying to rebuild some of the community foundations — mainly communication,  trust and transparency — that were lost. 

“We want to make sure all of our residents are aware that they need to pay attention to what’s going on and that they have the ability to help West York be a better place,” Mauck said.

Editor's note: Casa de Reconciliacion, 1497 W. Philadelphia St., will host a "Stop the Violence" event in the 1100 block of West King Street. An earlier version of this story had the wrong location for the event.

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