As more Kentuckians OD, agency looks to combat heroin addiction by visiting users in their homes

09/06/2016 04:26 PM

NEWPORT – After a spike in overdoses in urban areas around Kentucky politicians, authorities and agencies are scrambling to address the deadly threat.

The uptick in overdoses has been traced to supplies of heroin which contain fentanyl, which is 100 time more potent than morphine, and carfentanil, which is used as a large animal tranquilizer, and is 10,000 time stronger than morphine.

On Tuesday, Hamilton County Ohio Coroner Laksmi Sammarco confirmed that eight overdose deaths were due to carfentanil and they’re testing five more.

Northern Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy Director Kim Moser says that the dangers linked to fentanyl and carfentanil laced heroin are significant, because users don’t fully understand the dosage that they are taking.

“The users don’t know what they’re getting and they think they can use the same dose of heroin that they’ve always used, and they are really getting into big trouble,” Moser said. “Fentanyl is, as you probably know, 30 to 50 times stronger than heroin, and then carfentanil is a large animal analgesic and should never be used in humans.”

Moser, held an emergency meeting on Friday with a number of community leaders including the judge-executives of Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, along with other community leaders, law enforcement, and EMT’s, to look at ways to combat the growing heroin addiction problem affecting the region.

One possible solution is a program, based on a plan used in Colerain Township in Cincinnati, which consists of a team of law enforcement, paramedics, and someone from addiction services, or a trained advocate, going to visit an overdose victim at their home.

“These folks, within three to five days, go to the home and actually talk to the individual, and see if we can get them into treatment,” Moser said. “This is something Hamilton County and Colerain specifically has developed within the last year, year and a half, and it’s been very successful. The touch point to the individual is huge, and it really lets the individual know that someone in the community cares.”

Moser says that the key is to continue to put strong prevention efforts in place such as a new prevention curriculum in elementary schools to make it a normal part of discussion with kids that drugs are bad.

About Don Weber

Don Weber joined cn|2 when it launched back in May 2010 and soon became a reporter for Pure Politics. He is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University and has spent many years covering everything from politics to sports. Don says he loves meeting new people everyday as part of his job and also enjoys the fact that no two days are the same when he comes to work. Don Weber can be reached at donald.weber@twcnews.com.

1 Comments

Comments

  • viewer wrote on September 07, 2016 02:09 PM :

    I will begin with some good news.

    In regards to the rash of heroin overdoses in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky last week, working in conjunction with the DEA, KSP-DESI East, and Mt. Sterling Police Department, they arrested the supplier within 36 hours outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. While there is still much to do, many more dealers, in that area, this seems to have at least slowed down the number of overdoses in the Gateway area. Excellent work to all involved in that quick response.

    I would like to thank everyone who put the word out about the overdoses we were experiencing here in central Kentucky. I think getting the information out does a lot, and the media did excellent work, here in Lexington, by airing it on all of their news cycles.

    Friends, I don’t know if it is getting better or not. My neighbor, up the road, his grandson overdosed and died last week. That was here in Lexington. I talked to another friend, who’s children went to school with two young adults who overdosed and died last week, in Jessamine County. After losing my sister several years ago, I don’t think that I have become numb to it. I think it is just overwhelming, and your mind accommodates for the pain so that we don’t go crazy ourselves. It is kind of like mind over matter.

    I am a big fan of Kim Moser, and an admirer of the work, she and others have taken on to fight this drug scourge, not only in northern Kentucky but by taking the fight to Frankfort to help all of the state.

    This may come off as political, but that is not my intent. I have asked, for years, for more medical professionals, doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, etc. to get involved in the political system. I know we are short medical minds, in the General Assembly. The more we can get. The better we will be for it. Kim Moser is running for State Representative, and I believe she will be an excellent addition to the General Assembly. Once again, I would like to encourage more people with a medical background to get involved, even if it is only at the local level. Kentuckians’ health situations are at the bottom, whether it be drugs, obesity, diabetes, cancer, etc. We need all the wisdom we can get right now.

    Now, to the bad.

    Whatever is going on, with Rob Sanders and the Commonwealth Attorney’s office up there, needs to be dealt with. This position plays a huge role in this drug epidemic we are up against. We need all working together, and all on the same page. If he has crossed the line, he has crossed the line. Deal with it accordingly. If not, which I hope is the case, bring him back in and get unified to fight this evil scourge together. The viewer.

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