Signs of a Kentucky Heroin Epidemic: Overdoses and Discarded Needles


Northern Kentucky's river cities see a sobering side effect from a spiraling heroin epidemic, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. As heroin overdoses skyrocket, used needles litter parking lots and streets just off highways, where addicts get their fix and sometimes overdose. “They toss it out the window. We get calls: 'Somebody found a heroin needle in a parking lot. See the store manager,' ” said Bellevue Police Chief Wayne Turner. “The heroin use is at a scale we've never seen before. The discarded needles are an unintended side effect.”

St. Elizabeth Healthcare hospitals report they treated 31 percent more heroin overdose victims from January through July this year at their five hospitals compared with the same period last year. Firefighters often are called to streets and parking lots to help overdose victims. They administer Narcan, a pharmaceutical that breathes life into patients, and transport the victims to area hospitals. “We get these all the time,” Newport Fire Chief Gary Auffart said. “The victim is blue. You wouldn't believe how blue. You give them the Narcan [ ] and they're awake again.”

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