Several times in the late 1990s, Mary Mancini Hartner rushed employees from the overnight shift at her family’s bakery in Stowe to emergency rooms.
The workers were using mainly methamphetamines and other stimulants, recalled the president and chief executive of Mancini’s, a mainstay in the Stowe-McKees Rocks community that’s been turning out loaves of Italian bread and other baked goods for close to a century.
In the decades since, abuse of deadly opioid painkillers escalated into a national epidemic. Sto-Rox ranks among the hardest hit places in the Pittsburgh region, with its ZIP code ranking as one of the top three locations in Allegheny County for fatal overdoses last year, according to data from the University of Pittsburgh.
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