“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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6694.
EKU student died from overdose last month
“Our children are dying, it’s as simple as that.”
- Local News
Legislature passes road-spending plan
Kentucky House and Senate lawmakers agreed Tuesday to a $4.1 billion road-spending plan on the legislature’s final day, avoiding an expensive special session.
The plan includes $5.2 billion worth of projects throughout the state. But as much as 25 percent of that money will not be spent. Lawmakers said they would like to include a cushion in case some projects are delayed because of environmental concerns or problems acquiring land.
Health fairs cover contemporary teenage topics
Berea Community High School health students coordinated their first all-day health fair in November that was catered to elementary students.
But their spring fair Monday handled more mature issues that targeted the middle and high school crowd, said health teacher Cathy Jones.
Police: Woman drove through storage business gate
Richmond police arrested a Lexington woman Monday night after the property manager at Main Street Storage said she repeatedly drove her vehicle into a gate and fence at the 455 E. Main St. business.
Local jobless rate for 2013 same as 2012
Madison was one of 12 Kentucky counties with a 2013 jobless rate unchanged from the previous year, according to statistics released Tuesday.
Still, only four counties – Woodford, 6.1; Fayette and Oldham, 6.5; and Scott, 6.7 – had jobless rates better than Madison’s 6.8 percent.
Danville officials table fairness ordinance
City officials in Danville have tabled an anti-discrimination proposal.
The Advocate-Messenger reports that the move on Monday came after questions were raised about its legality and suggestions were made for changes.
Grimes outpaces McConnell in first quarter
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has again outpaced her likely Republican general election opponent, incumbent Mitch McConnell, in fundraising during the first quarter — but she remains well behind McConnell in total fundraising and cash on hand.
$250,000 wrecker stolen
A representative of Barger’s Wrecking Service, North Porter Drive, reported to Richmond police Sunday that a black, 1996 Peterbilt wrecker with company logos on it was stolen from the business’ parking lot. The wrecker is valued at $250,000, according to the police report.
Owner requests business zoning for corner of West Main and Tates Creek
The owner of three lots at the corner of West Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue wants the property rezoned from R-1B (Single-family Residential) to B-1 (Neighborhood Business).
Regents approve smoke-free campus policy
The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents on Monday approved a tobacco-free campus policy and set 2014-15 rates for tuition, housing and meal plans.
Effective June 1, the use of tobacco on all property that is owned, leased, occupied or controlled by the university will be prohibited.
Easter bunny's ‛eggbeater’ will fly eggs to Richmond
Who knew the Easter bunny could fly?
Skeptics can come to the Easter Eggstravaganza in Richmond’s Irvine-McDowell Park on Saturday to see for themselves. However, the bunny still doesn’t fly in bad weather. But on Monday, temperatures in the 60s with partly cloudy skies were predicted for Saturday.
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- Legislature passes road-spending plan