Town hall meeting held Tues to discuss growing heroin problem - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Officials meet to discuss growing heroin use in NKY

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CAMPBELL COUNTY, KY (FOX19) -

A town hall meeting was held Tuesday to discuss the use of heroin, which according to the numbers is becoming an epidemic in Northern Kentucky.

In 2010, the Kentucky State Police drug section handled 451 cases related to heroin. By September of 2012, that number had more than doubled. Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties account for 63% of all heroin arrests in Kentucky.

The Drug Free Alliance meeting in Campbell County is one way the community is trying to combat this growing trend.

One presenter at the meeting summarized it simply:

"Addiction is not a crime, it's a disease," said Charlotte Wethington, a recovery advocate for Transitions, Inc.

Campbell County is gathering resources from law enforcement, medical field, and treatment centers to help combat the heroin issue.

"Casey is my son," Wethington added. "He died at the age of 23 of a heroin overdose."

After the death of her son, Wethington channeled her emotions into helping others battling addiction. She is part of the community effort to stop the abuse of heroin in Northern Kentucky.

"Heroin has become more and more accessible in Northern Kentucky," said Bill Mark, director of the Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force. "And over the last few years heroin trafficking investigations have come to make up the majority of the cases that our officers investigate."

The Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force covers Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties, where a large percentage of heroin-related cases take place.

"It's hard to wrap your mind around that just these three counties out of 120 have kind of become the heroin hot spot in the whole state," Mark explained.

Dr. Mike Kalfas is an addiction specialist. He says it is the uncertainties that make heroin such a dangerous drug.

"When you take a pill, like a Percocet, you know what you're getting. If you're buying heroin off the street, you're not sure what did the cut it with, how potent is it or what other things did they put in it. So you're not dosing yourself the same. And one of the dangers is, with a drug like heroin, there's a high what we call ‘therapeutic to toxic window.' In other words the amount to get to get the effect, is close to the amount of an overdose," said Kalfas.

Charlotte Wethington left everyone at the meeting with one message. If you suspect someone in your life has a problem, act now and do not wait until there is evidence a problem exists.

For resources or more information on the Campbell County Drug Free Alliance, you can contact them at (859) 441-6323.

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