By Amanda Joering
There is a killer lurking in the hills of the Bluegrass state, and Kentuckians across the Commonwealth are waging a war to stop it.
Unfortunately this killer isn’t a person that can be arrested, or a virus that medicine can cure.
It’s heroin – a highly addictive drug that has taken over the lives of countless Kentucky residents, leading to an extreme increase in overdose deaths.
This drug, which Northern Kentucky addiction treatment specialist Dr. Mina “Mike” Kalfas calls “the great equalizer” does not discriminate. From teenagers to the older generation, low-income to high income, people of all ages and from all backgrounds are fighting against their addiction to heroin.
The surge in heroin use came about partly because of the state’s efforts a few years ago to crack down on prescriptions pain pills like OxyContin, which had become a popular, abused street drug throughout the state.
With stricter laws making the pills harder to get, the demand for heroin – a cheaper alternative – increased, and so did the supply.
In recent years, the use of heroin has continued to spread.
From small country towns to major metropolitan areas, heroin related arrests, overdoses and deaths have been on the rise for the past fews years, leaving residents scrambling to find a solution.
The epicenter of this growing epidemic lies in Northern Kentucky, where the deadly drug’s reach has touched residents throughout the region.
In more recent months, the area’s heroin issue has been spreading to other parts of the state, including the central, eastern and southern regions of Kentucky.
But people throughout the Commonwealth aren’t making light of this dire situation – they are banding together and working to find a solution.
In the coming weeks on the Kentucky Project, we will feature a series of stories further examining the heroin issue in the state and recognizing the efforts being made to fight the heroin epidemic.