Crime

State police seized more than $41 million in prohibited drugs in 2017

Pennsylvania State Police seized more than $41 million in prohibited drugs, including 227 pounds of heroin and fentanyl, according to a PSP release.
Pennsylvania State Police seized more than $41 million in prohibited drugs, including 227 pounds of heroin and fentanyl, according to a PSP release. The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP file

Last year, Pennsylvania State Police seized more than $41 million in prohibited drugs, including 227 pounds of heroin and fentanyl, according to a PSP release.

The release comes one day after Gov. Tom Wolf declared the state’s opioid addiction epidemic a public health emergency.

“From a state police perspective, we are looking forward to working with Gov. Wolf. State police is ready and willing to help in anyway that we can,” Ryan Tarkowski, PSP communications director, said.

Troopers confiscated $14,747,304 in heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamines and other prohibited drugs in the fourth quarter (Oct. 1 through Dec. 31) of 2017, according to the release.

The first quarter of 2017 resulted in $13.7 million of drugs being confiscated, while the second ($5.4 million) and third quarters ($7.2 million) saw a drop in the value of drugs confiscated.

The department does not typically delve into the reasons that some quarters have more seizures, in terms of value, than others, Tarkowski said.

State police also seized more than 18 pounds of heroin and more than 111 pounds of fentanyl in the fourth quarter. The drugs have a combined street value of $2,269,920.

State police removed almost 181 pounds of cocaine and 34 pounds of methamphetamines during the same time period, which was valued at almost $4.7 million.

There were 4,627 drug overdose deaths in Pennsylvania in 2016, 3,264 in 2015 and 2,732 in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pennsylvania was one of 26 states that saw a statistically significant drug overdose death rate increase from 2015 to 2016. Pennsylvania had the fourth-most deaths (37.9 per 100,000) from overdoses in the United States in 2016. West Virginia had the most (52 per 100,000), while Ohio was second (39.1 per 100,000) and New Hampshire was third (39 per 100,000), according to the CDC.

State police began to carry naloxone, a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose, in 2015.

Tarkowski said there were 74 naloxone administrations from state police throughout the commonwealth in 2017 and “a vast majority of administrations are successful.”

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