Louisville Police, Drug Treatment Centers Say Heroin Abuse Surges


Louisville police say the use of heroin in the area is surging, says the Louisville Courier-Journal. Amid a medical and law enforcement crackdown on opiate prescription pill abuse, rising street prices and manufacturer reformulations that make pain pills harder to abuse, addicts are increasingly turning to heroin, which is cheaper, easier to obtain, and extremely potent. In Louisville, the amount of heroin seized by police has skyrocketed from just 104 grams in 2008 to 7,087 grams so far this year. Heroin arrests shot up from 32 to 364 during that time. University Hospital treated 252 heroin overdose patients this year between June and August, up from 116 in the same period a year earlier.

Local drug-treatment facilities say they are seeing an increase in addicts of the opium-derived drug. Although prescription opiate abuse is still a much bigger problem, the heroin trend is “very alarming,” said Karyn Hascal of The Healing Place, a local drug treatment facility. “Five years ago you rarely ran into it.” Heroin users often don't fit the traditional stereotype, police said. “That picture of that hippie-looking drug user from the '60s — that's not the heroin user of today,” said police Lt. Col. Kenton Buckner, who oversees the narcotics unit. “He's educated, he has a job, but can no longer find the pills he or she needs.”

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