Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - October 9, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania
Altonna mirror© Copyright 2001 TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2001 50C newsstand
By Mark Leberfinger Skywriter
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration is studying the extent of OxyContin abuse in Blair County and the rest of the country to help combat the abuse of the prescription painkiller.
Rogene Waite, a DEA spokeswoman, said the agency for months has collected data from law enforcement officials, coroners and other agencies.
Blair County Coroner Patricia Ross said she has given the DEA information on county cases dating to 1996.
“When I’ve gotten updated files, I’ve sent those to them.” she said.
Ross also has provided data to OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma L.P. for its own research into the problem.
“This truly is a good drug for a lot of purposes for pain therapy,” she said. “The problem is we all know how strong OxyContin is. When you abuse it, you have a whole different ballgame."
Since 1995, OxyContin has been blamed for more than IOO deaths nationwide, and addicts or street suppliers have robbed pharmacies for the drug.
But there has been debate over whether OxyContin abuse has been overstated nationwide. Purdue said the abuse of OxyContin tablets is most evident in a few states, generally along the spine of Appalachia.
The company this summer acknowledged that Blair County was an area of high OxyContin abuse, but it said none of 58 deaths reported between January 1996 to December 2000 were attributed alone to oxycodone — not necessarily OxyContin.
Oxycodone, the active ingredient in OxyContin, also is found in nearly 40 other medications.
When used properly, OxyContin slowly absorbs into a person’s system. But abusers crush the pills into a powder to snort or inject it, producing a feeling of euphoria.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher thought the OxyContin problem had become so prevalent in Blair County that earlier this year, he said it’s a heroin substitute in this part of the state.
Please see Oxy/Page A5
affairs seen as ‘urgency’
By William Kibler
Financial adviser Martin Kooman of Altoona had to think when asked if clients have come to him since Sept. ll, anxious to get their affairs in order by making a will.
“Now that you mention it,” he said. There were several this past week.
“It’s usually not something that comes up out of the blue," Kooman said. “It must be the reason why.”
Typically, triggers for trips to an estate adviser include overseas flights or the death ot a close relative, Kooman said. jn this video image, clouds of smoke and dust are kicked up
Please see Personal/Page A3 as members of the northern alliance fire artillery Monday.
New missiles target Taliban
By Ron FOURNIER
The Associated Press
Above: A radar controller watches air traffic around the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise in the northern Indian Ocean Tuesday in this handout photo from the U.S. Navy. Below” Streaks of lights are seen as a fighter jet takes off'from the flight deck of the Enterprise, which is one of the U.S. ships participating in the attacks in Afghanistan.
The Associated f*ress
WASHINGTON — The United States pounded terrorist targets in Afghanistan from the air for a second night Monday in an effort to undercut the Taliban militia sheltering Osama bin Laden. Anti-Taliban forces inside Afghanistan appeared ready to strike in concert with the American barrage.
As U.S. warplanes and naval forces unleashed assaults halfway around the world, the Bush administration raised its guard at home.
“We’ve learned that America is not immune from attack,” President Bush said as he creat ed an Office of Homeland Security and put former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge in charge.
The creation of an anti-terrorism office underscored America's heightened anxiety. The FBI said it was investigating the possibility that the anthrax bacteria detected in two Florida men was the a result of terrorism or criminal action.
“Every American should be vigilant,” Attorney General John Ashcroft said.
Please see Plans/Page A3
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STAINED IN COMMUNITY
The process is under way to get estimates to replace the broken windows at Eighteenth Street Community Church. Timothy James Lynn, 41, was sentenced to serve I month to 23 months in Blair County Prison for smashing the stained glass windows because he “was mad at God. ” See story,
HUNTINGDON PRISON LAND
Appeal will not stall development
By Mia Rohart
HUNTINGDON — Development of a tract of prime land in Smithfield Township will not be delayed by another legal challenge, Huntingdon County economic officials said.
Smithfield Township Economic Development Corp. officials said they are looking for federal funding help to develop the 116-acre tract near routes 22 and 26, which now is owned by the state prison system.
The group’s attempt to develop the land has been subject of legal challenges since 1999.
Greater Fourth Street Associates Inc., a Huntingdon development firm, is appealing a Huntingdon County
judge’s decision to toss out a suit challenging the sale of the land by the state to the township. The appeal will be heard in Commonwealth Court.
Last month, the same court threw out a similar, separate suit filed by Greater Fourth Street against the state General Service Administration.
Greater Fourth Street Associates, which owns Ames Plaza and Raystown Lake Mall on Route 22, sued the township, the state and Smithfield Township Economic Development Corp. to stop the sale of the land.
In its lawsuit, Greater Fourth said the state was selling the land without public auction and at a price the company considered too low.
Please see Appeal/Page A5Altoona iKtrror
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