We need to find funding to fight heroin epidemic
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 11:00 AM
Kentucky residents - many from Carroll County - met twice last week to address the growing problem of heroin use in the area.
Joining them for a discussion was Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell who promised to bring his findings back to Washington.
Heroin abuse has reached epidemic levels across the nation. Kentucky and Southern Indiana are no exception.
On Monday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called the increase in heroin-related deaths an "urgent public health crisis." Holder said the number of heroin overdose deaths rose by 45 percent from 2006 to 2010. He said federal law enforcement is working to address the problem but more work is needed on education, prevention and treatment.
That's exactly what many Courierarea groups hope to accomplish, and they are committed to making a difference.
Residents, law enforcement officers, healthcare officials and the courts are working to address the problem in Indiana and Kentucky.
At a forum on Saturday, Kenton County, Ky. resident Charlotte Wethington shared the story of her son, Casey, was died of a heroin overdose.
She said she wished she had recognized some of the risk factors Casey has shown before it was too late to save him.
After her son's death, Wethington became an advocate for substance abuse intervention.
The Matthew Casey Wethington Act for Substance Abuse Intervention became law in 2004, nearly two years after Casey's death. The Kentucky law - known as Casey's Law - allows families, relatives and friends to petition courts for involuntary treatment for an addict.
Like any substance abuse fight, a proactive approach is needed, but we also need treatment centers for those who have become addicted.
That's going to take money. We hope McConnell lives up to his word and works to find federal funding. And, our Indiana representatives should join him in the effort.