NORTHERN KENTUCKY (FOX19) - The heroin epidemic gripping Northern Kentucky is the target of a multi-faceted effort by some unlikely partners.
This Northern Kentucky Heroin Impact and Response Workgroup is yielding some encouraging results.
No one knows the pain heroin causes more than the mothers who have bury their children who die from an overdose, like Rosie Christian. As FOX19 reported earlier this year Rosie's son, James Barton, died of a heroin overdose in the Hamilton county jail.
Rosie says she believes more can be done to help heroin addicts. "If we don't help the kids that has the addiction the dealers are going to stay here and keep feeding them."
Rosie says she'd like to see more detox and drug treatment facilities...and that's what the workgroup is trying to achieve. It's a mouthful of a name, but Florence Police Captain Linny Cloyd says they're trying to attack the heroin problem from multiple levels. "They're looking at things from a broader perspective of what can we do with legislation, what can we do with treatment, what can we do with prevention, what can we do with law enforcement."
It's an unprecedented collaborative effort that includes Transitions treatment centers. Transitions Director, Mac MacArthur says combating heroin requires a multi-faceted approach. "You cannot treat the disease in isolation. everybody has to be involved because it comes from all segments of the community so all segments of the community have to be involved in healing the problem."
Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President, Steve Stephens, says that healing includes the business community. "We've identified it as a work force issue. It has really concerned us as it grows that if we don't get involved this is going to impact our workforce which we already have trouble with in terms of not enough skills to fill the open jobs we have."
This collaborative effort is making progress, but gains are coming slowly. However, the Kentucky legislature is considering tough new penalties for heroin dealers.