Sen. Schwank says action needed now to combat heroin use in schools

In response to the May 5 arrests of 13 mostly underage Berks County residents by Pennsylvania State Police, state Sen. Judy Schwank issued the following statement:

“I am grateful for the excellent investigative work of the Berks County District Attorney’s office and state police, but the arrest today of more than a dozen of our children underscores an already underscored problem.

“Ten of the 13 people charged in this latest drug raid were younger than 21. If the charges are upheld, that will mean these students are taking drugs into our schools or they are buying them there. This has always been a problem but the growing presence of heroin as a drug of choice means we must do more to re-wage our war on drugs.

“Our children, people like the ones who have been charged today with possession of heroin, cocaine and marijuana, are dying in alarming numbers. This cannot happen.

“As I have emphasized, we need to do much more to make sure families are more aware of the danger signs of drug abuse, especially heroin, and they must know that police officers are searching longer and harder to stop this growing – but preventable – problem.

“Action must also be taken in the General Assembly. There are legislative options before us to consider. If they need to be improved or changed, we should do that. Our silence is complicity. We must not be complicit as our kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews succumb to heroin’s deadly grip.

“The arrests this morning [morning of May 5] are important but the continued vigilance of the entire community is needed to stem the tide on prescription drug/heroin abuse. We can’t let our guard down.”