Plan to cut NKY heroin epidemic goes public

NORTHERN KENTUCKY (FOX19) - A much anticipated plan to cut into the Northern Kentucky heroin epidemic has gone public.

The Northern Kentucky Heroin Impact and Response Work Group put together a 50 page study to help cut down on what is being called an epidemic. The full report was released on Thursday in Covington.

The study states that heroin overdoses in the state of Kentucky are up 550 percent from 2011 to 2012. Locally, the study shows that the court cases for heroin possession and trafficking are up 500 percent in Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties between 2008 and 2012.

That's also where we find 60 percent of the state's heroin prosecutions from 2011.

The new plan details a four year process totaling $16 million, mapping out changes in education, prevention, support and protection.

FOX19's Ben Katko sat down with a couple women who have suffered losses from this increased heroin usage. Many say that a plan like this is needed and long overdue.

"We were home when Nicholas overdosed in our bathroom," says Holly Specht. "Actually, for that, we're very grateful that he was home and not alone somewhere in the street."

Specht lost her son Nicholas in August. That's why she Holly and her family came to the revealing of the plan on Thursday evening.

"I'm here for other moms so moms and dads don't have to go through what we've gone through," explains Specht.

The report shows drug overdose deaths have quadrupled since 1999 in Kentucky. In 2012, heroin overdose accounted for nearly 20 percent of all the state's medical examiner drug overdose cases.

"As one mother put it to me, 'I think we're at the tipping point because enough people have died.' Tragic, but true," says Charlotte Wethington.

This plan took about one year to complete. It was put together by a diverse group of doctors, police, city leaders and health departments - All just looking to stop the problem running wild on the streets.

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