The opioid crisis continues to affect the quality of life in Cumberland County. Even if not directly seen, this crisis touches the lives of all residents.
Several County departments have felt this impact more than others, as they are on the "front lines" of the epidemic.
The Cumberland County Coroner’s office continues to see more and more deaths due to opioid and heroin drug overdoses. In the past year, the number of opioid related deaths increased by 25%.
Both of the County’s Probation departments (Adult and Juvenile) have seen increased caseloads due to the crisis.
Adult Probation reports that more people are being charged with criminal offenses relating to opioid use, and there are a gamut of issues related to securing treatment and maintaining sobriety for individuals under court supervision. Unfortunately, many end up in jail until suitable treatment can be secured.
This in turn then impacts the County’s jail, through increased inmate population and turning the prison into an “unofficial” detox center.
Following those same lines, the increase opioid use has caused jumps in court cases from 40 two years ago, to more than 1,000 today.
Another department facing challenges because of the epidemic is the County’s Children and Youth Services. The opioid crisis has led to an increased caseload, as more and more children are being reported in unsafe, drug related situations. During the past year, parent drug abuse as a reason for placement has increased from 55% to 75%.
While the crisis is continuing, the County has taken many steps to address the epidemic.