Lexington community agencies form coalition to battle heroin abuse

07/12/2013 04:48 PM

LEXINGTON — Leaders in Lexington are pulling together law enforcement and health agencies to combine forces against heroin use, which has grown sharply this year.

Heroin-related deaths in Fayette County have risen to 28 in the first six months of 2013 up from 5 in 2011 and 22 in 2012. And total heroin related arrests grew from 8 in 2011 to 102 in 2012, to 158 thus far in 2013.

On Friday, officials introduced the Lexington Heroin Task Force with partnerships involving the Lexington Division of Police, Division of Fire and emergency Services, Office of the Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney, Fayette County Attorney’s Office, Lexington Division of Community Corrections, Fayette County Coroner’s office, Lexington-Fayette County Health Department and the Mayor’s Alliance on Substance

The goal is to focus on a combination of treatment, education and law enforcement.

The Lexington police launched “Operation Pandora” on March 8 by reassigning personnel to focus on the heroin problem. The early results show that the task force is paying off. Since March 8, police have made 77 heroin arrests and seized 1,180 grams of heroin with a street value of $265,000.

Lt. Scott Blakely of the Lexington Narcotics Enforcement Unit said the operation is an effective tool to combat heroin abuse.

The drug is affecting people across the income and age spectrums.

“It’s not the typical person that you’ve found in the back alley,” Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn said.

“We know we can’t win this battle on our own,” Lexington mayor Jim Gray said. “These partnerships across law enforcement, the court system, healthcare providers, and recovery support groups are important to making Lexington safer, getting drugs off our streets and people into treatment.”

The Mayor’s Alliance on Substance Abuse recently expanded its online database of treatment options and resources at DrugFreeLex.com.


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