Heroin addiction affects many Kentuckians, but there are ways to reverse this epidemic

Insider Louisville LogoHeroin addiction is a problem that has exploded in Kentucky over the past several years. Three years ago, barely 1 in 100 people who came to The Healing Place detox facilities for help were there because of a heroin addiction. Today, that number is 95 percent. In that same time period, heroin arrests in Jefferson County have increased by 700 percent, prompting the launch of a “rocket docket” that serves to get addicts into treatment more quickly.

Still, despite the efforts of social services agencies and law enforcement officials, the epidemic continues to grow. That’s why The Healing Place helped organize a recent symposium, “Heroin: About Face. Reversing an Epidemic,” to bring together people representing social services agencies, law enforcement, the courts, and much more to address the issues and find solutions to the problem.

The keynote speaker was Tara Conner, the 2006 Miss USA from Russell Springs, who told her story of addiction that started at a very young age and eventually led to her treatment and life of recovery.

“I was grateful that I was sent to treatment because I didn’t know that addiction was a disease, I didn’t know what recovery looked like,” she said in a recent Passport-sponsored article in Insider Louisville. “Since that experience I immediately became an advocate. I was chucked into rehab by someone else, and if that hadn’t happened I might be dead.”

Among the other speakers were Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell, who lost a son to a heroin overdose in 2014; Dr. Greg Jones, medical director of the Kentucky Physicians Health Foundation; and Geoff Wilson, a licensed clinical social worker and certified alcohol and drug counselor.

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