St. Patrick's Day Safety
In just hours, a river of green beer will start flowing, as St. Patrick's Day celebrations begin.
It can be days of fun, but it can turn deadly in an instant.
"Once you add alcohol to any situation, it impairs the judgment that you can make, whether it's operating a vehicle, making decisions," said PA State Police Trooper Andrew Hacke. "It slows your decision down, and you may make a decision that you regret later."
Alcohol, substance-abuse experts say, is only part of the problem.
Increasingly, treatment facilities like Gaudenzia see people admitted with alcohol and drug problems.
"Drugs are not the same nowadays that they were 30, 40, even 10 years ago," said Dr. Philip Moore, Gaudenzia's Chief Medical Officer. "You see a lot more synthetic drugs. There are a lot more drugs being made in labs, clandestine labs."
Dr. Moore says that's a major problem.
He says any little mistake can lead to a rise in overdose deaths like the one Erie is seeing right now.
"You have cooks that are making these chemicals who may know what they're doing or may not know what you're doing," Moore said. "They may have a bad day and the batch may not come out as intended."
So the best advice, of course, is don't use drugs, but if you do, experts say you must be careful.
"You never know, you never know what you're getting," Hacke said. "You might think you have a reputable drug dealer that you're going to get your stuff from. But they don't even know what they're getting half the time. So to be able to take these illicit drugs, you never know what you're getting, and it could be the last time."