Washington, Westmoreland counties try to tackle serious drug problem

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WESTMORELAND, WASHINGTON COUNTIES, Pa. - Two counties are trying to tackle a very serious drug problem.

One is talking about ways to prevent drug overdoses while another is tracking down suspected drug dealers.

On Thursday, police in Westmoreland County hit the streets rounding up 21 suspected drug dealers in Latrobe, Derry and Mt. Pleasant.

It was an early morning wake-up call, as some were still in their pajamas.

The majority are accused of selling heroin to undercover officers during the past four months.

“This is an ongoing problem.  The drug problem is very prevalent in Westmoreland County, and we are doing everything we can with the task force and the neighboring counties,” said Chief James Bumar of Latrobe police.

Over the past couple of months, at least 22 people in western Pennsylvania have died after taking heroin laced with fentanyl labeled Theraflu.

In Washington County, the district attorney, coroner and a host of law enforcement officers announced the formation of a group to examine fatal drug overdoses.   There were 58 overdoses in Washington County last year, and nearly half of them were linked to heroin, police said.