The scourge of opiate addiction, which is tearing apart blue-collar communities in America’s heartland, has torn another family apart. The 7-year-old daughter of Christopher Dilly, 26, and Jessica Lally, 25, had been trying to wake her parents since Sunday. She lived with them and her siblings, aged 5, 3, and 9 months old in squalid conditions in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, downriver from Pittsburgh. Like a good girl, she went off to school Monday and on her ride home told her bus driver that she couldn’t roust them from their slumber. That’s because they were both dead of from heroin overdoses.
Jessica’s sister, Courtney Lally, said she had repeatedly tried to get local police and child services involved, even asking a local news reporter for help, but it was all for naught. "My sister wasn't the person she became when it came to drugs. She wasn't the person I knew,” she told WPXI News. “It was like the drugs had taken over and at first we didn't know it was heroin." Allegheny County, which includes McKeesport and Pittsburgh, has been beset by an opioid epidemic with high overdose rates. The overdose of the 7-year-old’s parents was the second one authorities responded to that day on the same block. In nearby Ohio, authorities estimate over 20 people are dying from heroin overdoses a week.
After being removed from the scene of their parent’s death, the four children were taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation. They are currently in the care of the Allegheny County Office of Children Youth and Families. Courtney Lally plans to go to court to get custody of the children. Speaking of her deceased sister, she said, "She loved her kids -- she did. She loved her mom, she loved me, she loved us."
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