In Indiana, the opioid and heroin epidemic is costing that state a lot of money and lives. Over one thousand Hoosiers die from overdoses every year and the cost of fighting the drug problem is a staggering 1.4 billion dollars.
Locally, that means a lot of work for law enforcement and those who deal with addicts and dealers. Sgt Steve Lockard is part of the drug task force with the Terre Haute Police Department. He says that when officers respond to a drug overdose, seconds count and officers use a drug called narcan to counteract the
Impact of a heroin overdose
In the past year, his department has responded to 18 heroin overdose cases, seven
of which were fatal.
Lockard says over the past few years, people who have gotten hooked on prescription
pain medicines or opioids have shifted to heroin. Why?
He says prescription guidelines have toughened so it’s harder to get meds. In addition,
heroin is more potent, more addictive and heaper and easier to get.
Statistics help tell part of the story.
In 2008, Indiana saw drug overdose deaths EXCEED motor vehicle deaths and the trend
In 2014, almost 20,000 people in the US died from prescription opioid pain relievers
Also from 2011 to 2014, heroin overdoses increased nearly three fold in Indiana
Dr. Irving Haber specializes in pain relief treatments, but he also helps people who have
become addicted to pain meds or who have made the jump to heroin. He says years ago, heroin was a problem facing urban areas, but today the growth is in rural America.
For Chuck and Jennifer Keys from Paris Illinois, their son started with opioids and died from a heroin overdose. Today, they are telling their story hoping to prevent other families from going through a similar nightmare. They also say law enforcement brought their son’s addiction into the light and gave
them a fighting chance to help him.