The recent explosion in heroin addiction in Central Pennsylvania has grabbed headlines and has everybody talking. Here in Centre County, there had been a small, interconnected group of heroin addicts since at least the late 1990s, with membership fluctuating, as older addicts either died, went to prison, or managed to get clean, only to be replaced by neophyte junkies. A large percentage of these addicts had underlying mental health issues and/or came from dysfunctional family situations. Many of them got into heroin because they felt they had no future, or because their mental illnesses clouded their judgment. In 2014, this is no longer the profile of the typical Centre County heroin addict, and sadly, the addicts no longer form a small, insular community. They are everywhere, and they now come from all walks of life.
A 37 year old Central Pennsylvania women has been charged with aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child in Lebanon County, after leaving an eight month old baby in a sweltering car for over two hours in July of this year. The baby barely survived, and is now brain-damaged, blind and deaf. The defendant, Damaris Manrique, had been the baby's legal guardian.