“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.”
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EKU wins OVC tourney
The Eastern Kentucky University Colonels are OVC champions and are headed to the Big Dance.
Hot early shooting propelled EKU to a thrilling 79-73 win over defending champion Belmont Saturday in the championship game of the OVC Tournament.
The Colonels receive the OVC's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The win gave EKU it's sixth OVC Conference Tournament title.
The Colonels hit four consecutive three pointers to open the game and led by as many as 15 points in the first half.
Corey Walden led all scorers in the game with 29 points, including 10-of-11 free throws. Glenn Cosey finished with 23 points on 5-of-8 shooting on three-pointers and Tarius Johnson added 15 points and five rebounds.
Veteran certification officer fired from EKU
Accusations of cheating on an online test led to the firing of an 18-year Eastern Kentucky University employee Wednesday.
Retha Sandlin, formerly a veteran certification officer in the Burnam House for EKU’s student veterans, said the decision resulted from a misunderstanding on the part of Jaime Roberts, the house’s interim office manager.
Proposed bill takes aim at heroin problem
Proposed legislation before the Kentucky General Assembly aims to combat the state’s growing heroin problem using three strategies – education, treatment and law enforcement aid.
Sen. Jared Carpenter, R-Berea, is one of the sponsors of Senate Bill 5. The bill was passed in the Senate earlier this year, 36-1, and is waiting to be heard by the House Judiciary Committee.
New kid at the market
A three-day old black-and-white goat named Ellsa was the star Saturday morning at the new Richmond Downtown Farmers Market.
The Nubian goat mix was brought to the weekly market by Four Sisters Farm. Located off Four Mile Road in Madison County, the farm specializes in goat products.
Hundreds turn out for fishing team’s fundraiser
Madison Central High School’s bass fishing team got a boost Saturday when its first-ever Fishing Tackle Swap turned out to be a huge success.
About 500 buyers showed up to check out what the 38 vendors had to offer. At least 17 of the vendors were from outside Madison County. There were even a few boats for sale.
Pets of the Week from the Madison County Animal Shelter
The Madison County Animal Shelter is located at 1386 Richmond Road in Berea. Shelter hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Animals available for adoption can be seen from noon to close Monday through Saturday.
Feds deny giving OK to selenium standards
When lawmakers wrestled last year with new standards for releasing selenium into streams by coal mines and industry, they were assured by state officials the proposals were based on sound science and approved by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials.
Eastern students practice fire fighting in burning building
Thick barrels of smoke rolled out of the room as nearby observers could feel the fire’s heat on their faces. Furniture and drywall fueled the blaze. Flames licked the top of the door frame and the flat ceiling.
Airport planning mock disaster drill
Madison Airport officials and Eastern Kentucky University are making plans for a mock disaster drill tentatively scheduled for August.
Prior 'bad acts' to be allowed in Marcum murder trial
A Madison Circuit judge ruled Friday that prior “bad acts” of murder defendant Christina Marcum may be admitted during her upcoming trial.
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