Connie Curry remembers her phone ringing, and the caller ID saying it was St. Luke's University Hospital.
She remembers how she and her husband didn't answer the first time. She remembers it ringing again, and him picking up, then handing the receiver to her.
"I'm doctor so-and-so," a voice on the other line told Curry. "Your daughter Sarah is here. She died from an overdose."
"I just refused to believe it," the 58-year-old South Whitehall Township woman recalled a year later. "I screamed and cried on the phone. I dropped the phone."
With a heroin epidemic that keeps getting worse, and not better, an ever-growing number of families are receiving such calls. In 2016, heroin took a life nearly every other day in the Lehigh Valley, including that of Curry's daughter — 28-year-old Sarah A. Shankweiler, whose death after surviving previous overdoses shows the difficulties in efforts to stem the crisis.
Last year 58 people in Northampton County died after accidentally overdosing on heroin or other opiates, a review of coroner records by The Morning Call showed. That represented more than one death each week in the county, and fell just one death short of the total in 2014 and 2015 combined.
In Lehigh County, 38 accidental overdoses involving opiates were reported, as well as 73 deaths tied to multiple drugs. County Coroner Scott Grim would not provide details of the substances involved.
Taken together, Lehigh County's toll of 111 marked more than two deaths a week. In the two previous years combined, 116 people died.
That the problem is only growing comes despite a full-court press by state policymakers, who have made stanching Pennsylvania's heroin crisis a priority. It speaks to how multi-layered the public health issue is, and to how even the state's best efforts prove ineffective.
Shankweiler's death is an example of those challenges. Twice before she overdosed and was saved by authorities equipped with naloxone, an opiate antidote that Gov. Tom Wolf has made more readily available to first responders and the public — a key part of his administration's efforts to get a handle on the epidemic.
Shankweiler was first saved in July 2014, when someone found her collapsed in the bathroom of a McDonald's in Bethlehem, bleeding from a fresh puncture wound in her arm, a syringe and other paraphernalia nearby, according to court records.
About six months later, Shankweiler was revived again, after overdosing while staying with a friend at a week-by-week rental in Allentown, her mother said. But despite the scares, stints in jail and in rehab and the lost custody of her three children, Shankweiler was unable to overcome her addiction, Curry said.
When Shankweiler's body was found Feb. 14, 2016, in her boyfriend's apartment on West Goepp Street in Bethlehem, police said she was cold to the touch and her lips were blue. It was too late for her to be saved a third time.
"As a parent, you feel like a failure, that you did something wrong," Curry told The Morning Call during an interview at her ranch home a mile from Trexler Memorial Park. "As a parent, you'd like to help your child. Do something to make it better. Fix it."
It's not just parents who are struggling to come up with answers. So are public health professionals, who predict a long road ahead in the battle against heroin.
"This is a problem that's developed for more than 20 years and there's no quick fix or easy solution," Pennsylvania Physician General Rachel Levine said in a recent interview. "It's going to take an all-hands-on-deck approach between agencies to solve this."
The average age of those who fatally overdosed last year in the Lehigh Valley was 38. The youngest were 20, and the oldest was 70. Many attended or graduated from college, and some had advanced degrees, according to their obituaries. They were former social workers, construction workers, cosmetologists and mechanics. They loved to cook, , to hunt and fish, and to collect everything from Indian relics to World War II memorabilia.
Their deaths are just one piece — albeit the most devastating — of the epidemic's impact locally. For every death, there are still more overdoses that addicts survive, emergencies that still tax first responders and the medical system.
"Our last one we just had, talking to the girlfriend, it's the fourth time he OD'd," said David Mettin, chief of Slate Belt Regional police. "Which is just a shame."
"You got to take the need away and I don't know how you do that," Mettin said.
Surveyed by The Morning Call, 16 Lehigh Valley police departments reported responding to 466 overdose calls last year, and to using naloxone on 218 occasions. The number of calls represented a tip-of-the-iceberg figure, since many departments do not generally track when they respond to overdoses, which often are first reported merely as medical emergencies.
"It is crazy," Palmer Township police Chief Larry Palmer said of heroin's reach. "It is unlike anything we've ever seen before."