I can tell you meth isn't the real issue here. We're the nation's new heroin overdose capital, and it's a brutal sight.
Federal and Kentucky officials told The Huffington Post that they knew the move against prescription drugs would have consequences. “We always were concerned about heroin,” said Kevin Sabet, a former senior drug policy official in the Obama administration. “We were always cognizant of the push-down, pop-up problem. But we weren’t about to let these pill mills flourish in the name of worrying about something that hadn’t happened yet. … When crooks are putting on white coats and handing out pills like candy, how could we expect a responsible administration not to act?”
As heroin use rose, so did overdose deaths. The statistics are overwhelming. In a study released this past fall examining 28 states, the CDC found that heroin deaths doubled between 2010 and 2012. The CDC reported recently that heroin-related overdose deaths jumped 39 percent nationwide between 2012 and 2013, surging to 8,257. In the past decade, Arizona’s heroin deaths rose by more than 90 percent. New York City had 420 heroin overdose deaths in 2013 — the most in a decade. A year ago, Vermont’s governor devoted his entire State of the State speech to heroin’s resurgence. The public began paying attention the following month, when Philip Seymour Hoffman died from an overdose of heroin and other drugs. His death followed that of actor Cory Monteith, who died of an overdose in July 2013 shortly after a 30-day stay at an abstinence-based treatment center.
In Cincinnati, an entry point for heroin heading to Kentucky, the street dealers beckoning from corners call it “dog” or “pup” or “dog food.” Sometimes they advertise their product by barking at you. Ohio recorded 680 heroin overdose deaths in 2012, up 60 percent over the previous year, with one public health advocate telling a local newspaper that Cincinnati and its suburbs suffered a fatal overdose every other day. Just over the Ohio River the picture is just as bleak. Between 2011 and 2012, heroin deaths increased by 550 percent in Kentucky and have continued to climb steadily. This past December alone, five emergency rooms in Northern Kentucky saved 123 heroin-overdose patients; those ERs saw at least 745 such cases in 2014, 200 more than the previous year.
For addicts, cravings override all normal rules of behavior. In interviews throughout Northern Kentucky, addicts and their families described the insanity that takes hold. Some addicts shared stories of shooting up behind the wheel while driving down Interstate 75 out of Cincinnati, or pulling over at an early exit, a Kroger parking lot. A mother lamented her stolen heirloom jewelry and the dismantling of the family cabin piece by piece until every inch had been sold off. Addicts stripped so many houses, barns, and churches of copper and fixtures in one Kentucky county that the sheriff formed a task force. Another overdosed on the couch, and his parents thought maybe they should just let him go.
And the bigger problem is the industry that has popped up here for treatment of heroin addiction. Do read the piece, it's a real eye-opener. I hope that Gov. Beshear can help do something about this, because it's a growing problem here in the NKY, and people are dying needlessly and stupidly.