“Our children are dying, it’s as simple as that.”
Coroner and EMS director Jimmy Cornelison knows first-hand what kills people in his community, and Madison County has not been left out of the heroin epidemic sweeping the state.
A heroin overdose caused the death of an Eastern Kentucky College student last month, Cornelison told the crowd at the “Heroin in the Headlines” workshop Thursday in Richmond.
He handled another overdose death of a woman two weeks ago.
The conference, at which several local, state and federal officials and experts spoke, was sponsored by the Madison County Agency for Substance Abuse Policy.
“Heroin has no boundaries,” Cornelison said, adding that unlike some of the past outbreaks of increased heroin use, people of all backgrounds are using the drug.
Cornelison, along with law enforcement officials at the workshop, directly linked the crackdown on “pill mills” and pain pill dealers in Kentucky to the upswing in heroin use.
Heroin is cheaper than buying opiate pills on the street, officials said.
Another difference with the latest heroin epidemic is the drug is being sold in a more pure form, which is leading to people injecting higher doses as their tolerance quickly builds.
Cornelison said addicts often will be incarcerated for a short time, and dry out from the drug. However, when they get out of jail, usually on bond while awaiting trial, they will immediately go back to the same heroin dosage they took before they were jailed. That often leads to accidental overdoses.
As EMS director, Cornelison is focused on saving lives, and one thing that can mean the difference between life or death during an overdose is a drug called naloxone (marketed as Narcan).
“We have a lot of success with it,” Cornelison said.
One injection can immediately counteract the life-threatening depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system caused by opiate overdose.
Cornelison said police officers may start carrying the drug to more quickly render aid in heroin overdose calls.
The Kentucky General Assembly also passed a law last year that allows doctors to prescribe naloxone to a third-party person who can administer it to an overdose victim. Some pharmacies have begun selling naloxone rescue kits that people can keep in their homes.
Cornelison said keeping an adequate supply of the drug for the Madison County EMS is becoming difficult because heroin overdoses are becoming more common.
“It is an epidemic,” he said.
Sarah Hogsed can be reached at email@example.com or 624-6694.
EKU student died from overdose last month
“Our children are dying, it’s as simple as that.”
RPD: Heroin sales lead to trafficking indictment
Executing a warrant issued after Samantha Frederick, 29, Northgate Drive, was indicted July 16 by a Madison County grand jury, Richmond Police arrested her Monday on drug trafficking charges.
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Richmond Police on Friday charged Robert Abney, 30, of Moberly Avenue, in connection with a May 30 explosion that injured Abney and damaged a neighbor’s home.
Officers were dispatched May 30 to a residence in the 500 block of Moberly Avenue to investigate the report of an explosion.
They found the remains of a plastic bottle bomb near a residence adjoining Moberly’s, according to an RPD news release. A wall of the occupied home was smoldering and grass was burned in the area, it added.
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Between October 2011 and September 2012, Eric Kelley had sexual relations with Lawson’s two daughters, according to court documents.
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Anthony and Kathy Hart, two Madison County residents who pleaded guilty May 21 to prostituting their daughters, won’t be seeing any extra time in jail.
Both parents, who served time in jail while their charges were pending, were sentenced to probation Thursday in Madison Circuit Court.
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