Local sheriff cautions against heroin

The Kentucky Department of Public Health reported 15 overdoses and 12 heroin and fentanyl-related deaths over Labor Day weekend.

The Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy says in the first half of this year, more than 300 people died in the state from heroin and/or fentanyl. The department announced Wednesday that it has scheduled an emergency call last week to help prepare local hospitals and emergency personnel to deal with the deadly drug.

There were no heroin overdose deaths in west Kentucky this past weekend, but members of local law enforcement say they don’t want you to discount the danger heroin could bring to our area.

The Graves County Sheriff’s Office is accustomed to getting concerned calls about methamphetamine cases, marijuana, and prescription pain pills, but that wasn’t always the case.

Graves County Sheriff Dewayne Redmon says: “When meth came into the area, it drifted in slowly. Then, all of a sudden, it mushroomed. We had meth labs everywhere.”

Redmon says the same thing may happen with heroin. He says: “It’s starting to work its way in, but we’re not at a critical point with heroin.” He says his department has not made a heroin arrest this year, but knowing the trends, he expects to see more heroin in our area sooner than most may believe.

Because heroin is cheaper and deadlier, Redmon says it’s even more important to get ahead of it. He says: “It’s not if it’s going to be here. It’s when it’s going to be here, and how bad it’s going to be.”

The sheriff says his and other sheriff’s departments will start training next week to be well versed in heroin overdoses.

As for hospitals, a spokesperson with Baptist Health Paducah says they do have an adequate amount of Narcan: the drug used as an antidote to heroin overdose. This comes as communities around Kentucky battle the heroin epidemic.

A county judge in Cincinnati plans to grant immunity for anyone who turns in heroin or other drugs. Law enforcement agencies there report almost 300 overdoses since August. A police officer in Cincinnati describes what it’s like to have to administer Naran to someone who’s overdosed.  He says, “They’re blue, lifeless. And soon as that Narcan is administered, they pop right back to like nothing ever happened. They stand up, have a conversation with you.”

The Kentucky State Police is trying to help educate more Kentuckians about heroin, but troopers say they need your help. KSP is creating a video on the dangers of heroin. If you want to get involved, you can email KSPsocialmedia@ky.gov.

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