Bucks County Herald

Bridge repairs, suicide prevention and the opioid crisis

County Commissioners report on current issues


From bridge repairs to suicide prevention training and opioid crisis management, Bucks County Commissioners presented the second of three legislative breakfast programs hosted by Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce Friday morning.

The annual series aims to bring legislators from county, state and national government to Upper Bucks County venues in a presentation format with audience Q&A afterward.

Kevin Spencer, director of operations for Bucks County special services, said of the 114 bridges in Bucks County, 54 were “structurally deficient” and needed attention.

Various funding sources help to rehabilitate bridges, including those deemed historically significant.

While some county bridge projects are currently underway, others are handled through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). “We have nine bridges projects [underway] in 2018,” including the Walnut Street bridge in Perkasie,” Spencer said.

Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia presented an update about Bucks County’s Children and Youth services department. “We receive 3,000 calls a year and more reporting is happening thanks to the Sandusky case,” Ellis-Marseglia said.

Ellis-Marseglia referred to law and reporter changes that resulted from the Jerry Sandusky Penn State child abuse scandal. Sandusky was convicted and is serving a minimum 60-year prison sentence. He was found guilty of abusing at least 15 youngsters.

Reducing the number of opioid deaths and getting substance-addicted people into treatment has increased through front-line efforts by police and emergency medical services responders.

“We’ve found a warm hand-off at an emergency room is having results,” Ellis-Marseglia said.

She explained the contents of the county’s new “emergency recovery kit,” which includes Naloxone, commonly known as Narcan, a first-aid spray for emergency treatment of an overdosing individual, as well as other essential supplies.

Holding up a clear box with snap lid filled with supplies, she said the kits were paid for by the Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission.

“We introduced these about a month ago. Once one is used, it is replaced,” Ellis-Marseglia said.
She said critics of the kits called them “sprinkling pixie dust” on an ever-expanding problem, but the kits have been effective in helping save lives since their introduction.

In addition to field work, Ellis-Marseglia said Penn Foundation in Sellersville is providing case-management services to get people help. “Mental health and drug abuse are often found together,” Ellis-Marseglia said.

Time, location and speaker for the third and final “State of the Nation” hosted at McCoole’s Arts & Events Place at the corner of Main and Broad streets are underway. For information visit ubcc.org


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