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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

2015 Heroin Action Plan to be announced

It's no secret that Northern Kentucky has a heroin problem. In fact, I personally know of two young men (age 26 and 30) who have passed away this week from heroin. By now everyone knows some of the reasons for this epidemic; it's cheap, the heroin laws in Kentucky are not as strict as Ohio, dealers will give samples for free, people are addicted after one use and rehab has a long waiting list and is very expensive. Most people know someone on heroin, maybe even someone who has died. 

The Northern Kentucky Heroin Impact Response Task Force, made up of health care professionals, police officers, government officials, rehab specialists, families and community members, announced a plan last year to attack the heroin problem. The task force will present a progress report on the past year and it's goals for the next two years tonight, Tuesday, Oct. 28 from 7-9 p.m. at the Gardens of Park Hills. The event is free and open to the public. 

Jason Merrick, co-chair of NKY People Advocation Recovery and Anita Prater, director of Brighton Recovery Center for Women, outlined a few of the group's accomplishments:

  • Trained and equipped 130 families with Naloxone, a synthetic drug, similar to morphine, that blocks opiate receptors in the nervous system
  • Five documented lives saved with take-home Naloxone kits
  • Raised lots of awareness at numerous town hall meetings and media coverage
  • Named Jim Thaxton as the program coordinator for the NKY Heroin Response Team Task Force
  • Spurred conversation regarding medical assisted treatment versus total abstinence
  • Encouraged increased collaboration among the community partners
  • A member of the Task Force, Transitions, Leadership NKY and other community organisations created the Healthy Newborns Project for addicted pregnant women and infants
  • Held 25 town hall meetings in Northern Kentucky
The working goals in the 2015-2016 plan include:
  • Help with the organization and coordination of a regional rehab facility
  • Advocate for needed change to remove the barriers to treatment, including legislation
  • Provide prevention, treatment and long-term support
  • Protect those who are addicted from overdose and from contracting disease associated with IV drug use
  • Support and protect law enforcement as they work to reduce supply
The cost associated with implementing the 2015/2016 plan will be funded through grants and money raised to fight heroin in Northern Kentucky.  The full plan, including action steps will be discussed at tonight's meeting. People are encouraged to RSVP but it's not required. Visit for more information. 

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