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Rising Death Rates Due to Narcotics in Lycoming County

WILLIAMSPORT — A few days before the new year, upon the third floor in his office in Williamsport, you’ll find Charles Kiessling Jr. “Trying to get things...

WILLIAMSPORT -- A few days before the new year, upon the third floor in his office in Williamsport, you’ll find Charles Kiessling Jr.

“Trying to get things closed up what cases we can,” said Kiessling.

This year in Lycoming County, the coroner has had quite a few cases to investigate.

“We’re about 360 cases for the year,” continued Kiessling.

“We have to investigate any calls, suicides, homicides, drug deaths,” Kiessling added.

It’s the drug deaths that have the Lycoming County coroner most concerned.

“2014 we had 14 drug deaths. 2015 we had 25. 2016 we had 35. So far this year, we had 38,” Kiessling said.

“I guess I’m not that surprised, but it’s sad to see that number go up,” stated Christopher Hess of Williamsport.

“And unfortunately, this right now seems to be a runaway freight train we can’t get under control,” Kiessling added.

“It’s kind of shocking. It seems like a quiet town since we’ve been here, but to see the statistics is kind of shocking that there are that many deaths,” stated Augustine Rico or Williamsport.

Recently Kiessling has noticed many of the illegal drugs that people overdose and die from are mixed with Fentanyl or Carfentanil, a narcotic used to tranquilize elephants.

“The sad reality is if they don’t choose to get treated and stick with treatment, they will probably eventually end up through my office,” the coroner said.