Drug Overdoses Increasing in PA

 Drug Overdoses in Chester County Pennsylvania

It is a harsh reality, but drug overdoses have increased nationwide since late 2022 and now into 2023. Unfortunately, the state of Pennsylvania has not been immune to this scourge. 

The overdoses have led to an increase in deaths. According to the NCDAS (National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, over 96,000 deaths occurred already in 2023 nationwide. 

The overdoses have occurred because of illegal drugs but also because of prescription drug usage. Fentanyl has caused most deaths illegally, while prescription opioids caused most “legal overdoses.” 

This is compounded by the fact that the overdoses are occurring most frequently in a younger population now—those 18 to 45 years old. 

Why Are Drug Overdoses Occurring? 

There are many reasons for this frightening trend. Pennsylvania is seeing its share of this, unfortunately. The reasons are many. 

  • Covid 19 lockdowns

Isolation occurred, and Pennsylvania experienced an extended period of serious lockdown. The lockdowns caused depression for many. Depression can lead to self-medication through illegal drugs or alcohol. 

  • Job loss

As lockdowns occurred, many businesses were forced into bankruptcy and shut down in PA. Job loss brings financial burdens, which again leads to depression and self-medication. 

  • An upsurge in surgeries

Many surgeries were deemed “non-essential” during lockdowns in PA. This has led to an increase in these in 2023. Doctors, while well-meaning, do prescribe opioids to relieve the pain, although these are regulated. 

Patients may very well be using other drugs that will lead to opioid interaction and cause death and do not always explain to their doctors what they are taking. Sedatives such as benzodiazepines and alcohol have a sedative effect and can interfere with breathing. 

  • Doctors and hospitals are overwhelmed.

Doctors must religiously screen before any surgeries for any prior drug or alcohol use, or this can easily turn into a medical negligence case. Unfortunately, doctors and hospitals in PA are showing a staffing shortage, and “haste” can have dire consequences. 

A “Duty of Care” still exists, however, and hospitals and doctors must not shift from this duty or face medical malpractice claims. 

  • Misdiagnoses by doctors and hospitals

Since many younger people do not have strokes, when they have one, doctors can start treating a younger person for a drug overdose. This is not always the case, however, and strokes get misdiagnosed routinely as drug overdoses in the young. 

According to Neurology Today, at least 10 percent of strokes are misdiagnosed in the young. This also applies to brain and head injury traumas which cause slurred speech and lack of coordination. Drugs and alcohol show the same symptoms, unfortunately, and can mislead emergency room personnel. 

Steps to be Taken if a Drug Overdose Death Occurs

Anyone who loses a family member to a drug overdose experiences great pain. The loss is usually unexpected and should be investigated. 

  1. An attorney should be contacted immediately.

Any minor exclusions by police, paramedics, hospitals, or doctors need to be determined by a legal team with the resources to ensure a full investigation. 

Christian J. Hoey, ESQ, and his team of extraordinary researchers and world-class experts from all fields of crime investigation and medical malpractice will dive into the causes of any drug death from overdose in PA. 

  • A coroner should also be contacted. 

An autopsy will probably be needed, and all medical records will be acquired by a competent attorney such as Christian J. Hoey. 

There may or may not be cause for a medical negligence case, but not following up on a drug overdose death or even brain trauma from an overdose will cause a lifetime of uncertainty. 

Summary—Drug Overdoses in PA in 2023

The problem of drug overdose death and brain injuries does not seem to subside in PA. Hoey Legal has years of experience being located in Paoli, PA, and serving a large swath of counties in PA. 

The only way to effectively curb the overdoses is public action and awareness. Hoey Legal stands ready to assist any individual or family affected by the drug overdose and death epidemic. There is a free and private first-time consultation using Hoey Legal. 

The CDC has declared drug overdose and death an epidemic, and it truly is. Pennsylvania is not immune to this epidemic, and individuals need assistance in overcoming the guilt, shame, medical expenses, and of course, finding the causes of the drug overdose/death. Compensation can be the only way to bring closure to any drug death or disability. 

For more information on all our law services, visit us at HoeyLegal.com or call us at (610) 647-5151.

Distracted Driving

Pennsylvania defines distracted driving as “an activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” Drivers have to focus on driving, so they can react to the information on the road, such as road conditions, hazards and other drivers. Distracted drivers do not react appropriately and thus put others at risk for severe injury or death. Examples of distractions, besides using cell phones and texting, include drinking, eating, adjusting the radio, adjusting climate controls, adjusting seats, combing hair, putting on make-up, daydreaming, reaching for dropped items, engaging in heavy conversations, and focusing on events outside of the car.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence typically refers to alcohol use, but drug use can also impair drivers and cause severe car accidents.  In either situation, enjoying cocktails at happy hour, celebrating with drugs or alcohol, drinking too much wine for dinner and unwinding after a long week at work results in too many motorists driving under the influence.  Controlled substances impact each person differently, making it common for someone to misjudge his or her level of impairment.  These poor judgments can lead to severe and sometimes fatal car accidents.

Driver Fatigue

Driving without enough sleep is commonplace for many in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and across the nation. Truck drivers, shift workers, and those with sleep disorders are most vulnerable to causing an accident because they are drowsy or fatigued. Not having enough rest slows down reaction time and impairs the senses. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) claims that eighteen (18) hours without sleep impairs a driver to the same extent as someone who has a 0.08 blood or breath alcohol concentration after consuming alcohol.


The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that one-third of all car accidents involve speeding. Drivers who rush, run late, or simply lack patience may choose to speed when they get behind the wheel. Speeding makes it more likely that a driver will lose control of his or her vehicle and makes it more difficult to react to road hazards and other vehicles. Speeding also increases the impact of a car accident and makes it far less likely that a negligent driver may maintain control of his vehicle sufficient to prevent a collision. High speed car accidents make it far more likely that those involved will suffer severe injuries or death.


At HoeyLegal, we know from our litigation experience that tractor-trailer drivers often operate at least one cellular phone which is in use at, during, or immediately prior to a tractor-trailer accident. Additionally, most tractor-trailers are equipped with data recorders which capture, in real-time, important vehicle operation events including speed, hard braking and other evasive maneuvers taken by the operator and the tractor-trailer.  It is imperative that this evidence be obtained before it is destroyed.  At HoeyLegal, our trial attorneys will obtain any necessary court order to preserve this evidence for trial.


Oftentimes, there are several defendants responsible for the tractor-trailer accident. In most cases, at least two defendants are responsible for the ownership and operation of the tractor-trailer.  There may be additional defendants responsible for the hiring and retention of the tractor-trailer driver.  At HoeyLegal, our investigators will promptly identify the responsible defendants and immediately request the preservation of all evidence related to the hiring and retention of the driver, inspection of the vehicles and the supervision and drug/alcohol testing of the vehicle operator.


Our accident investigators include mechanics who will immediately respond to the accident site and the location where the truck has been impounded in order to photograph the truck and conduct necessary mechanical inspections of the vehicle. In the event that a court order is necessary to examine and inspect the trucks, HoeyLegal Attorneys will promptly file the necessary motions to enable the HoeyLegal mechanics and inspectors to conduct a prompt evaluation of the mechanical function of the at-fault tractor-trailer


Our expert accident investigators include former Pennsylvania State Police accident investigators and nationally recognized engineers who will carefully photograph the accident scene and conduct all necessary measurements of skid marks, yaw marks, displacement of debris and thoroughly examine the accident site to preserve all evidence for the time of trial.


Our investigators will promptly interview and record all witnesses that observed the accident and collect all biographical information from the witnesses so they will available to testify on your behalf at trial.

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