Free Narcan in Pa. as city, suburbs battle drug distribution rings

Free Narcan kits being offered as part of 'Stop Overdoses in Pa. Week' on Thursday
FALLS TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WPVI) -- Wednesday's multi-million dollar drug bust smack in the middle of a sleepy suburban neighborhood is an alarming wake-up call: you are just as likely to find a major organized drug ring operating in the suburbs as you are in the city.

On Thursday, residents of Pennsylvania will be able to get free Narcan kits as the government and law enforcement look to prevent more overdoses from occurring in the state.

From the eyes of an organized drug ring, maybe the 600 block of Cheryl Drive in Warminster was the perfect place to set up shop.

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11 arrests after large drug bust in Warminster: Walter Perez reports on Action News at 6 p.m., December 12, 2018

"This is as normal a residential, 9-to-5, sleepy bedroom community as you will find anywhere in the country and this was going on right in the middle of it," said Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub.

The New York Times recently dubbed the Kensington section of Philadelphia 'the Walmart of heroin,' but authorities in Bucks County and others are increasingly finding the city is getting growing competition from the suburbs.

"Bucks County is one of the hardest hit counties in the entire commonwealth of Pennsylvania for overdoses and heroin problems," said Falls Township Police Lt. Henry Ward.

Take for example Cornelius Bell of Trenton.

Police said addicts didn't have to come to him, he came to them, selling thousands of bags of heroin a month.

"Just like Domino's, just like a pizza delivery guy, just pick up and call him," Ward said.

Bell is currently being held on $5 million bail.

Then there is Taylor Hopkins of Morrisville. Hopkins was recently convicted for selling the drugs that killed 43-year-old Maryanne Cominsky inside the Country House Motel.

"This is probably one of the hardest charges to prove right now, that they are responsible for a heroin overdose death," said Ward. "Our detectives put a lot of work into this and we just had the trial last week and he was convicted of that charge."

The point is addicts in the suburbs no longer have to flock to Philadelphia to get their heroin laced with fentanyl.

"This fentanyl, this is all coming from one place, we know where it's coming from, it's coming from China. And I think the President's right to really put pressure on China," said Ward.

Authorities say make no mistake, Philadelphia is still largely seen as having the purest, most potent heroin on the east coast. But if the charges in Wednesday's drug bust stick, we might be learning that your suburban neighborhood might be the place where it is now coming from.

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NARCAN distribution throughout Pa. Jeannette Reyes reports during Action News Mornings on December 13, 2018.

The health department and Governor Tom Wolf's administration are participating in the state's 'Stop Overdoses in Pa. Week' by giving out free Narcan - naloxone kits - at four Philadelphia libraries.

They are:
  • Holmesburg Library - 7801 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19136 from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

  • Lucien E. Blackwell West Library - 125 S. 52nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19139 from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

  • McPherson Square Library - 601 E. Indiana Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19134 from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

  • South Philly Library - 1700 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19139 from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

There are also suburban locations, 11:00 a.m. and 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted, including:

Berks County

  • Berks County State Health Center - 625 Cherry St., Room 401, Reading, PA 19602

Bucks County

  • Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission - 600 Louis Dr., Suite 102A, Warminster, PA 18974

  • Southern Bucks Recovery Community Center - 1286 Veterans Hwy., Suite 6D, Bristol, PA 19007

  • Quakertown Branch of the Bucks County Free Library - 401 W. Mill St., Quakertown, PA 18951

Chester County

  • Chester County Department of Health - 601 Westtown Rd., Suite 290, West Chester, PA 19382

Delaware County

  • Delaware County State Health Center - 151 W. Fifth St., Suite 1, Chester, PA 19013

Montgomery County

  • Montgomery County Office of Public Health - Norristown Center, 1430 DeKalb St., Norristown, PA 19404 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Montgomery County Office of Public Health - Pottstown Center, 346 King St., Pottstown, PA 19464 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Montgomery County Office of Public Health - Willow Grove Center, 102 York Rd., Suite 401, Willow Grove, PA 19090 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The huge drug bust in Warminster happened to occur days before this major announcement was made. But officials say it further proves why this move is necessary.

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