Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Weekly newspaper details rising heroin epidemic in Central Kentucky community

In a good example of taking a national story and localizing it, Ben Carlson, editor and publisher of The Anderson News, a weekly newspaper that serves about 21,000 residents around Anderson County in Central Kentucky, has written a piece about how the growing heroin epidemic has impacted the local community.

"Police are called to a domestic dispute involving a mother and her son arguing over a dirty needle," Carlson writes. "A man in his early 20s shoots heroin, climbs behind the wheel of his car and crashes into a telephone pole in front of the library. Another man shoots heroin in the parking lot of a local store. He overdoses, turns blue and passes out with his foot on his car’s gas pedal, revving the engine. Twenty people overdose in November and December, requiring life-saving actions from first responders."

"All of the above simply scratches the surface of the heroin epidemic in Anderson County, a problem that is damaging not only the addicts and their families, but the people against whom a growing number of crimes are being committed," Carlson writes.

Det. Sgt. Bryan Taylor of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office told Carlson, “It’s like cancer. It doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, a male or female, young or old. It touches everyone eventually, and it’s getting worse.”

Taylor said the rise in drug use has led to more crime, Carlson writes. He told Carlson, “In the cases I’m working now involving property crimes, most, almost all, are property crimes from an individual who has a heroin problem. Those are the problems we’re dealing with now . . . crimes associated with heroin use such as burglaries, thefts and domestic violence.” The Anderson News is behind a paywall but can be accessed by clicking here.

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