Pennsylvania Rehab Center Dealing Drugs to Addicts

Pennsylvania Rehab Center Dealing Drugs to Addicts

David Francis launched a drug rehab center in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, recalling his own struggle with addiction. “This is what keeps me clean,” he had said in a 2006 about Next Steps Foundation, “helping other people.”

This summer, though, authorities discovered that Francis was doing the exact opposite. The “caring and concerned and forgiving atmosphere to recover” turned out to be a hub for Francis to deal drugs to addicts, rather than help them recover. At least five “bricks” of fentanyl were discovered at the properties on Friday morning, along with used needles and empty drug bags. He now faces a charge of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.

Like much of the country, Allegheny County has had a significant increase in drug overdoses within the last few years. In 2015, 424 people in the county died from overdoses, and that jumper grew to 648 in 2016. Statewide, fatal overdoses increased nearly 37 percent—4,642 deaths in 2016.

According to information provided to investigators, whenever anyone in the rehab program needed heroin or fentanyl, they would get it from Francis or one of his associates at Next Steps Foundation. Between February 2016 and September 2017, police had responded 11 times to drug overdoses on the block where the rehab center was located.

Officers reported finding “individuals who were unresponsive, along with evidence of drug use, including stamp bags suspect of heroin/fentanyl.” On Friday’s raid, they found three people inside the rehab center who admitted to using drugs all night, used needles and more empty stamp bags.

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