As Northern Kentucky seeks more options to help heroin addicts, not all treatment is created equal

03/17/2014 05:21 PM

The experts in what many heroin addicts need to kick the drug’s hold are the families of those who have struggled with opiate addictions, including the families of those who lost their battles.

So it’s people like Carol Wagner of Fort Mitchell, who have taken it upon themselves to not only educate Northern Kentucky students about the dangers of heroin and the disease of addiction, but also to help guide and advise addicts and their families. She and her husband Cliff founded the Foxfire Foundation in 2006 that provides counseling and education.

As Wagner found out a decade ago when her son, Chad, was struggling with addiction, not all treatment is created equal.

Chad Wagner was among many Northern Kentuckians who couldn’t find space in one of the treatment facilities in Northern Kentucky, so he went to Corbin to go through a 30-day treatment program. But for heroin addicts like Chad, that’s not enough, Carol Wagner said. Here’s why:

Northern Kentucky has been the epicenter of heroin’s resurgence in the commonwealth over the last three years. The number of overdoses and arrests related to the opiate has spiked since 2011.

Law enforcement reported that use of the drug jumped more than 400 percent between in two years with 451 samples of the drug confiscated in 2011 to 2,882 samples in the first nine months of 2013 alone.

As the General Assembly considers a bill to help in the fight against heroin, the need for more treatment resources is on the top of Northern Kentuckians’ lists.

Mac MacArthur, executive director of the treatment center and program Transitions, Inc., said state leaders must not only change their approach but also their attitudes.

Here’s a look at the treatment needs in Northern Kentucky:

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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