Spike in heroin overdoses in NKY is making officials nervous

Rash of overdoses observed in NKY communities

BOONE COUNTY, Ky. (FOX19) - Heroin overdoses continue to take their toll across the nation and in communities around Greater Cincinnati.

It’s a toll the Specht family knows all too well — lives changed, lives altered forever. Their son, Nicholas, died of an overdose in 2013.

Since then, the family has been trying to raise awareness to ensure other families don’t have to experience their pain.

It’s seemingly an uphill battle. The year is young, and the data isn’t in yet, but social media tells the story of a rash of overdoses plaguing areas of Northern Kentucky.

“We know that’s what’s happening to families every single day,” Holly Specht said.

Amanda Peters is the director of the Northern Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy.

“Is this a bad batch situation? We’re not sure, we’re really not," Peters explained.

But something is happening, Peters insists. The anecdotes alone paint a vivid picture.

“Pray for this family, we lost another one,” she said. “Pray for this one, we lost another one... And we’re seeing these posts every day. So, we’re not sure if it’s happening that day, or if it happened a couple days ago, but they’re more frequent that we’re starting to get really, really nervous.”

Boone County Coroner Missy Rittinger says there are two confirmed overdoses in 2020 so far, but she also explains she’s still waiting on toxicology reports to come back for other deaths, and that could increase that number.

In the meantime, Peters and her organization are helping to supply addicts and families with Narcan sprays, which can help save lives. They’re also encouraging addicts to get help.

“We can get them into treatment same-day,” she said. “We can reserve their treatment bed. We can start connecting them to different services.”

But they can only do so if the addict or families call, and often it’s the negative stigma of drug addiction that gets in the way.

That’s why the Specht family has this message for any family battling addiction:

“Let them know you’re there and know you will do anything that it takes to get them help because that person probably doesn’t feel like they want help. It may take one, two, three, seven, nine times for recovery... But it can happen.”

If you’re in Northern Kentucky and you’re fighting addiction or you have a family member who’s fighting addiction, you can call the NKY Office of Drug Control Policy hotline at 859.415.9280 for help.

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