Northern Kentucky group forms in response to what some consider ‘epidemic’ of heroin use in their area

Ashel Kruetzkamp with a vial of Naloxone
HCl, used to treat those who overdose
on heroin. (Photo by Patrick Reddy)

Heroin use is reaching such high levels in Northern Kentucky that experts are calling it “a plague.” The problem is so dire that local agencies are coming together to form the Northern Kentucky Heroin Impact and Response Workgroup.

Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Terry DeMio reports that the group includes leaders from St. Elizabeth Healthcare, law enforcement, addiction treatment programs, the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and those who have been impacted by heroin.

The goal of the group is “to fight, treat and prevent the destructive force of heroin in our community,” said Dr. Jeremy Engel, a family doctor with St. Elizabeth Physicians, Bellevue. Engel spearheaded the effort based on his belief that heroin use in the area has hit “epidemic” levels.

Engel points to first nine months of 2012 when St. Elizabeth Healthcare treated 311 heroin overdose patients in the emergency rooms of its five hospitals. For the same time period in 2011, the heroin overdoses presented in those emergency rooms numbered 186.

With help from the chamber, St. Elizabeth Healthcare and others, Engel is forming the task force under the NKY Vision 2015 umbrella. (Read more)

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