DiGirolamo to Participate in Memorial Event to Raise Greater Awareness of Opioid Crisis
BENSALEM – Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) is hoping the story of a local teen who died a decade ago of a heroin overdose and a memorial event this Saturday will help increase awareness of the devastating opioid epidemic that is affecting Bensalem and communities across the country.

DiGirolamo will participate in a memorial ceremony this Saturday, July 23, at 10 a.m. at the Resurrection Cemetery gravesite of Katie Kevlock. The cemetery is located along Hulmeville Road in Bensalem.

In 2003, Kevlock was just 16 years old when she died of a heroin overdose while awaiting a decision to allow her to be admitted to an inpatient treatment clinic. She was denied that type of treatment by her mother’s insurance, even though state law, Act 106 of 1989, required insurance coverage. The insurance company claimed she wasn’t sick enough.

“Katie’s story is one that has kept me greatly involved in the fight against opioid abuse,” said DiGirolamo, chairman of the House Human Services Committee and long-time advocate for better treatment and greater education efforts. “After her death, Katie’s mother kept up the fight to hold the insurance company accountable. I’m so pleased that all these years later, her family is continuing to keep her legacy alive to prevent other families from such tragedies.”

Kevlock’s mother, Sue Shields, is coordinating the memorial event just days after what would have been her daughter’s 30th birthday. She believes that sharing the story of her family will help others.

“Since Katie’s death, major progress has been made in the availability and accessibility of appropriate treatment for addictive illnesses, yet we continue to lose unacceptably large numbers of young people to this affliction,” Shields said. “It is my goal to increase awareness of this continuing scourge. In just the past few years, three of Katie’s friends have lost their lives to it. All had a future until drugs took control of their lives. All had potential, and all had families who loved them. Despite mainstream perception, they are not ‘lesser’ people. Their deaths negatively and forever impact the lives of others far beyond their own.”

The public is invited to attend the memorial.

Representative Gene DiGirolamo
18th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton
GeneDiGirolamo.com / Facebook.com/GeneDiGirolamo