For most of the past year, COVID-19 has dominated the news to such a degree that it’s tempting to believe that other issues affecting Sentinel-area residents are no longer cause for concern. The newspaper has repeatedly covered the matter of opioid abuse and other addiction issues in its pages. And according to Dauphin County officials, it is a matter still deserving of concern and attention. The Sentinel recently reached out to Dauphin County for information on where the county’s ongoing addiction epidemic stands in the early months of 2021. The following information was made available by Brett Hambright, the county’s press secretary. ‘‘We have noticed changes in characteristics of the addiction epidemic in upper Dauphin County and across the entire county, but some components of addiction’s grasp on the area remain the same. ‘‘So much attention is given to the devastation of opioid abuse, and that is certainly appropriate, but let’s not forget alcohol remains the No. 1 most-abused substance and main culprit in substance abuse-related deaths. Alcohol’s toll is not as suddenly apparent – as we all know, a single heroin or fentanyl dose can be deadly – but its pervasiveness in Dauphin County communities remains. “In fact, alcohol abuse has increased during COVID as many people are home in isolation and battling depression, anxiety and other difficulties.
SEE ALCOHOL • PAGE A3