|L-R -TFC Michael J. Delp, Criminal Investigator, PSP Coudersport, Cathy Bowers Rotary President.|
Guest speaker, Pennsylvania State Trooper Delp of the Coudersport Barracks discussed the continuing problems with drugs, especially heroin, in and around the Coudersport area. Although Trooper Delp could only speak on the knowledge he has on what pertains to State Police investigations, it was a very interesting presentation. Rotary commends him, as well as all of our State and Local agencies, for stepping up to the
PA State Police Trooper Delp. Trooper Delp stated he has been with the State Police for over 12 years and his first career was with the Military. He became a State Trooper because he missed helping people. He is a community service officer as a secondary duty and stated this is the part of his job that he likes the most. He likes to get out, educate people, and just help them out. Trooper Delp, District Attorney Watson, and Chief of Police Officer McClain travel together visiting the schools around the county to educate the youth. They tell it like it is.
Trooper Delp told us that when he went to school there was nobody there to explain to them what the laws were. They just did not teach that in schools and they still do not teach it in schools. All the kids know is that one should not kill people, one should not steal, one should not drive drunk, one should not speed – they know the basic laws. However, there are many things they do not know. They do not know the facts about drugs; they do not understand the sexting laws and how much trouble they can get into on the internet, because they are just uneducated.
D.A. Watson and Trooper Delp spend a lot of time through education trying to prevent incidents. The last thing they want to do is to arrest a juvenile, although they will if need be. In 2015, there were approximately 3300 deaths cause by heroin overdoses in Pennsylvania. Ten people a day die from heroin overdoses in Pennsylvania. Many overdoses are happening that do not get to the attention of the State police. This is because there are laws involved regarding investigations and jurisdictions, and information apparently is not shared. If a person is with someone who overdoses on heroin, calls 911, and stays with that person until the he//she receives help, and the person does NOT die due to the overdose, there is no prosecution of the individual who made the call, even if that same person is the supplier or dealer. (My note - this seems like a double-edged sword in that it is good to save a life, however the supplier goes free).
Trooper Delp spoke about the heroin problem here in Potter County. Galeton is the biggest hotbed for heroin. The users in Galeton make their way to Williamsport, as it is easier and more accessible for them to buy. These individuals are drug dealers by definition. Individuals in Galeton will go to Williamsport and buy 10 packets of heroin because it is cheap. They will buy it cheap, at about $10/$15 a pack,and then bring it back to Potter County and sell it for $20 a pack. Therefore, they are going to buy 10, keep 5 for their own personal use and sell 5 to their friends. That will support their habit and gas money to drive back and forth to Williamsport to get more drugs. By definition they are drug dealers, however in the traditional sense they are not selling hundreds of thousands of packets a week, but it still fits the definition for prosecution purposes.
The Shinglehouse area is also another place where there have been issues. Individuals are going to Olean and other places in New York State to get their supplies. There are other places throughout Potter County that have problems, however Shinglehouse and Galeton are the two largest.
The reason why heroin is a problem is that it is cheap to get. A person can support their own habit by being a runner for, or a friend of other drug partners. Heroin has replaced many opiate prescriptions, which could not be filled through the doctor’s office. Individuals became chemically addicted to opiates and they craved it and needed it. They were still in pain, and as the opiates prescribed for a condition, such as back pain, could no longer be prescribed from a doctor, they turned to heroin. Pennsylvania recognizes this, and it is moving forward by taking steps where opiates are not being prescribed as often as in the past; however, the addicts are still out there.
In addition, heroin is being cut with fentanyl. Fentanyl is a man made drug. The reason why heroin is being cut with fentanyl is that it is not obtained from Mexico or Europe, and it is not imported. It is more readily available to the drug dealers outside of our County and the dealers can cut the heroin with fentanyl. This makes their heroin go farther, so they sell more baggies and make more profit. They do not have to take the risk of paying higher prices to get the product from overseas because one can get fentanyl in the USA.
The latest thing, although it has not happened here in Potter County, is that heroin is being cut with **carfentanyl. This is an elephant tranquilizer that when exposed to the bare skin could kill. Why are the drug dealers doing this? It goes back to the 60’s – because they can!
Trooper Delp said, "this is the drug problem in Potter County." Galeton and Shinglehouse are the biggest areas involved with the use and sale of heroin, with Harrison Valley, Roulette and Coudersport having some activity.
* “Carfentanil is an analogue of fentanyl with an analgesic potency 10,000 times that of morphine and is used in veterinary practice to immobilize certain large animals,” the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says on its website.
Thank you to PA State Trooper Delp. More families should get involved with their children and know where they are, who they are with and what they are doing. There are far too many losing their lives over drugs. THANK YOU!
Photo and Story By Cathy Bowers