LOST BUT LOVED

 

Following a record-breaking year for overdoses in Luzerne County in 2017, which contributed to the declaration of a statewide disaster emergency in January, we used the state Right-to-Know Law to secure the names of all 151 victims and reached out to their families to tell their stories and offer insight into the scourge of drug abuse.
We are not publishing the names of all victims, just those whose survivors chose to participate. They were eager to share not only the pain and frustration that addiction has brought to their lives, but also the love and fond memories they hold still for those they have lost.

Finding alternatives to opioid painkillers

Finding alternatives to opioid painkillers

A significant number of people who overdose on drugs start their addiction with legal prescriptions for opioid painkillers. Oftentimes, the refill is what gets them hooked and craving more, experts say. “First exposure is when the risk of addiction starts....

Oversight coming for sober houses

Addicts seeking drug-and-alcohol-free housing upon leaving highly structured rehabilitation centers often face increased temptation and relapse when moving into unregulated “sober houses” being established across the state in response to the...

Here’s where to find help

IN A CRISIS Local caseworkers for Helpline are available 24 hours a day to refer callers to resources available for those with drug and alcohol problems. Call 570-829-1341 or visit www.helpline-nepa.info. The state has a similar program, “PA...

NEED HELP?

IN A CRISIS
Local caseworkers for Helpline are available 24 hours a day to refer callers to resources available for those with drug and alcohol problems. Call 570-829-1341 or visit www.helpline-nepa.info.
The state has a similar program, “PA Get Help Now.” The phone number is 1-800-662-4357 (HELP).

COUNTY ASSISTANCE
The Luzerne County Drug and Alcohol Program can be reached at 570-826-8790.

For a full list of resources and treatment centers, click here.

%

of the overdose victims in 2017 in Luzerne County were under the age of 35

Lost but Loved: The Victims

Click through for their pictures and stories

Heather Hoffmaster

Heather Hoffmaster had two kids, a steady waitressing job, her own apartment and a close-knit family that supported her. Click here to read more

Gail Davis

Gail Davis died searching for relief from her back pain, her brother believes. Click here to read more

Mariah Noon

PLYMOUTH — Mariah Noon’s body still felt warm when her fiance found her in bed the morning of Feb. 4, 2017.
Click here to read more

Eric Bowman

Following alternating bouts with drug abuse and recovery, Eric Bowman’s relapse in March 2017 killed him, but brought new life to someone he never met. Click here to read more

Paul Sorokas

Addiction can ruin or end a life at any age. Click here to read more

Jack Zakrewski

The last years of Jack Zakrewski’s life were tough. After suffering a heart attack years earlier, Zakrewski, 62, had been on disability toward the end of his life and struggled with back pain as well. Click here to read more

Discuss the Series

Discuss the “Lost but Loved” series here. 

Stopping the Epidemic

Click through to read what’s being done to combat the opioid epidemic in Luzerne County and beyond

Finding alternatives to opioid painkillers

A significant number of people who overdose on drugs start their addiction with legal prescriptions for opioid painkillers. Oftentimes, the refill is what gets them hooked and craving more, experts say. Click here for more

Oversight coming for sober houses

Addicts seeking drug-and-alcohol-free housing upon leaving highly structured rehabilitation centers often face increased temptation and relapse when moving into unregulated “sober houses” being established across the state in response to the opioid crisis. Click here for more

ADHD

A look at ADHD medication and addiction. Click here for more.

Organ Donations

Grieving families of some drug overdose victims are finding solace in the fact that surging deaths from the opioid epidemic have led to a record number of organ donations around the country. Click here to read more

Vulnerable at any age

You are never too old to suffer from addiction, especially addiction to opioids. Click here to read more.

Treatment centers focus of debate

Most everyone agrees that Luzerne County is in the grip of a deadly opioid epidemic that is killing off residents by the dozens. But when it comes to treating the very people who are dying, most everyone wants that care to happen somewhere other than where they live. Click here to read more.