Prescription pain pill addicts turning to available heroin, police say
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 15, 2013) –Lexington is battling a surge in heroin abuse with community-wide partnerships focused on enforcement, education and treatment.
Mayor Jim Gray last week joined Commissioner of Public Safety Clay Mason and several agency representatives in announcing progress made since the formation of Lexington’s Heroin Task Force.
“We know we can’t win this battle on our own,” Gray said. “These partnerships across law enforcement, the court system, healthcare providers, and recovery support groups are important to making Lexington safer, getting drugs off our streets and people into treatment.”
The task force includes:
- Lexington Division of Police
- Lexington Division of Fire & Emergency Services
- Office of Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney
- Fayette County Attorney’s Office
- Fayette County Sheriff’s Office
- Lexington Division of Community Corrections
- Fayette County Coroner’s office
- Lexington-Fayette County Health Department
- Mayor’s Alliance on Substance Abuse
As illegal prescription pain pills become more difficult to obtain, drug addicts have been turning to heroin, said law enforcement officials. Officials began noticing an increased number of heroin drug sales in Lexington and overdose deaths from heroin last fall.
“So far in 2013, Lexington’s Narcotics Enforcement Unit has made more heroin-related arrests than the previous two years combined,” said Lt. Scott Blakely.
“The Division of Police has reassigned some personnel to focus on the heroin problem,” said Police Chief Ronnie Bastin.
Since launching “Operation Pandora” in March, officers have seized 1,180 grams of heroin with an estimated street value of $235,900.20.
There also is an emphasis on helping those struggling with addiction and their families, the mayor said. The Mayor’s Alliance on Substance Abuse recently expanded its online database of treatment options and resources at DrugFreeLex.com.
“We need the community’s help in identifying people who need treatment,” Mason said.