STATE OF ADDICTION: Epidemic hits Louisville hard

STATE OF ADDICTION: Epidemic hits Louisville hard


ANNOUNCER: THIS IS A WLKY SPECIAL PRESENTATION.>>YOU DON’T KNOW WHO’S GOING TO DIE NEXT. ANNOUNCER: “STATE OF ADDICTION.”>>IT’S AFFECTING EVERYBODY, PEOPLE IN MILLION-DOLLAR HOMES WITH DRUG OVERDOSE. ANNOUNCER: A FAR REACHING EPIDEMIC WITH A DANGEROUS TOLL.>>YOU HAVE A — IN A 30 PERIOD — IN A 30 DAY PERIOD, EIGHT PEOPLE I KNOW HAVE DIED. VICKI: WELCOME TO “STATE OF ADDICTION.” I’M VICKI DORTCH. HEROIN AND OPIOID ADDICTION IS BECOMING MORE PREVALENT ACROSS THE NATION AND ESPECIALLY HERE AT HOME. ITS IMPACT IS FAR REACHING, HITTING ALL AGE GROUPS, ETHNICITIES, AND ECONOMIC BACKGROUNDS. IN MANY CASES, IT’S SOMETHING YOU WOULD NEVER EXPECT — IT’S SOMEONE YOU WOULD NEVER EXPECT HAS A PROBLEM. KENTUCKY RANKS THIRD IN THE COUNTRY FOR THE MOST OVERDOSE DEATHS, TIED WITH OHIO. ONLY WEST VIRGINIA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE HAVE MORE ACCORDING TO THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. THE HEROIN EPIDEMIC IS HITTING THE CITY OF LOUISVILLE PARTICULARLY HARD. OUR CITY IS SEEING A RECORD NUMBER OF OVERDOSE CALLS IN 2017 , INCLUDING A STRETCH OF 52 OD’S IN JUST 32 HOURS IN FEBRUARY. AS EMILY MAHER EXPLAINS THE SPIKE HAS METRO EMERGENCY CREWS SCRAMBLING TO KEEP UP. EMILY: OVERDOSE CALLS ARE ON THE RISE IN THE METRO.>>OVERDOSES KNOW NO BOUNDARIES. THEY CAN BE IN ANY AREA OF THE CITY. EMILY: LOUISVILLE IS SEEING A RECORD NUMBER OF OVERDOSE CALLS IN 2017. EMERGENCY CREWS RESPONDED TO 6 CALLS IN JANUARY, AND A STAGGERING 868 CALLS IN FEBRUARY. AT LEAST 75 DEATHS HAVE BEEN ATTRIBUTED TO DRUG OVERDOSES IN THE FIRST TWO AND A HALF MONTHS OF THE YEAR.>>OVERDOSES ARE UNPREDICTABLE. EMILY: EMS RESPONDS TO OVERDOSE CALLS AT HOMES, HOTELS, AND EVEN BUSY INTERSECTIONS. IN FEBRUARY, THE PASSENGER IN THIS TRUCK FATALLY OVERDOSED, THE DRIVER OD’D AND PASSED OUT , CAUSING A CRASH AT THE INTERSECTION OF HURSTBOURNE PARKWAY AND WESTPORT ROAD. HOURS AFTER THE CRASH, A CALL TO A RALLY’S BATHROOM WHERE ANOTHER PERSON OVERDOSED. MITCHELL BURMEISTER WITH LOUISVILLE EMS SAYS THE METRO IS IN THE MIDST OF AN EPIDEMIC.>>THERE IS NO PART OF TOWN THAT IT AFFECTS MORE THAN ANY OTHER. IT TRULY IS AN UNFORTUNATE SITUATION THAT IS AFFECTING OUR ENTIRE COMMUNITY. PEOPLE ARE UNFORTUNATELY EXPOSED TO IT, NO MATTER WHO OR WHERE YOU ARE. EMILY: LOUISVILLE FIRST RESPONDERS GO TO AN AVERAGE OF 20 OVERDOSES A DAY. DURING THE WEEK LONG SPIKE IN FEBRUARY, THE CALLS DOUBLED. HEALTH OFFICIALS BELIEVE THE INCREASE IS DUE TO THE SYNTHETIC OPIOID FENTANYL.>>WHAT WE’RE SEEING IN THE STREETS RIGHT NOW IS FENTANYL MIXED WITH HEROIN, AS OPPOSED TO HEROIN MIXED WITH FENTANYL. EMILY: HEROIN IS UNPREDICTABLE. OFFICIALS SAY A DOSE CAN BE DIFFERENT EVERY SINGLE TIME.>>SOMEONE COULD HAVE TAKEN IT MULTIPLE TIMES IN THE PAST, AND THIS CERTAIN DOSE COULD LEAD TO AN OVERDOSE. EMILY: ON THIS RUN, FIRST RESPONDERS GAVE THE PATIENT NARCAN AND RUSHED THE PATIENT TO THE HOSPITAL. AND THIS SCENE IS REPEATED OVER EMERGENCY CREWS ON THE RUN, SCRAMBLING TO KEEP UP WITH THIS GROWING EPIDEMIC.>>ANY INCREASE IN CALLS IS GOING TO PLAY A FACTOR IN FATIGUE FOR OUR EMPLOYEES. IT’S TOUGH TO SEE DAY AND AND DAY OUT THAT YOU’RE MAKING MULTIPLE OVERDOSE RUNS IN ONE SHIFT. YOU MIGHT BE MAKING MULTIPLE ON THE SAME PATIENT. IT’S REALLY DIFFICULT. VICKI: IT’S NOT JUST EMERGENCY CREWS STRUGGLING TO KEEP UP WI THE OVERDOSE CALLS. THE WORKLOAD FOR LOUISVILLE METRO’S HOMICIDE UNIT HAS SKYROCKETED. DETECTIVES RESPOND TO EACH OVERDOSE DEATH, AND AS CHRISTINA MORA EXPLAINS, NARCOTICS OFFICERS, AND IN SOME CASES FEDERAL AGENTS, ARE NOW RESPONDING TOO.>>WE’VE BEEN IN MILLION-DOLLAR HOMES WITH A DRUG OVERDOSE AND ON AN ALLEY. IT’S AFFECTING EVERYBODY. CHRISTINA: LIEUTENANT EMILY MCKINLEY AND LMPD’S HOMICIDE UNIT ARE DEALING WITH A STAGGERING NUMBER OF OVERDOSE DEATHS IN 2017. BY MID MARCH, HER UNIT RESPONDED TO NEARLY 80 SUSPECTED DEADLY OVERDOSES. THE SAME TIME LAST YEAR, THAT NUMBER WAS 38. NOW, THE DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION AND LMPD’S NARCOTICS DETECTIVES ARE JUMPING IN TO HELP. THE GOAL IS TO TRACK DOWN THE DEALERS.>>AS DEA AGENTS, WE’RE TYPICALLY WORKING THE HIGHEST LEVEL TRAFFICKER WE CAN FIND. BECAUSE OF THIS EPIDEMIC, WE’VE HAD TO RETHINK THE WAY WE’RE DOING THINGS. AND THAT’S WHAT PART OF THIS STRATEGY IS. WE’RE HAVING TO MIX THINGS UP. WE’RE ACTUALLY TARGETING THAT FIRST LINE DISTRIBUTOR, WHICH IS SOMETHING A LITTLE UNUSUAL FOR US. CHRISTINA: THE DEA’S 360 STRATEGY PILOT PROGRAM KICKED OFF LAST YEAR IN FOUR CITIES, LOUISVILLE, PITTSBURGH, ST. LOUIS, MILWAUKEE. LOUISVILLE IS CONSIDERED A PRIORITY. THROUGH THE INITIATIVE, NARCOTICS DETECTIVES AND SOMETIMES DEA AGENTS WILL NOW RESPOND TO OVERDOSE SCENES. THEY’RE ON THE HUNT FOR CLUES THAT WILL LEAD THEM BACK TO THE SUPPLIER.>>WE HAVE STARTED TO STREAMLINE HOW WE DO OVERDOSE DEATHS, BECAUSE WE ARE WORKING WIT NARCOTICS UNIT NOW. THE NARCOTICS UNIT HAS COME ON BOARD TO WHERE IF WE RESPOND TO AN OVERDOSE DEATH, AND WE FEEL MAYBE WE CAN IDENTIFY WHO MAYBE PROVIDED THE DRUGS, WE’LL CONTACT A NARCOTICS DETECTIVE. >>NARCOTICS IS ALWAYS ABOUT THE MINUTIA, THE SMALL THINGS. A SCRAP OF PAPER WITH A NAME OR TELEPHONE NUMBER ON IT. IT’S ABOUT THE TYPE OF SYRINGE SOMEONE WAS USING. THAT TELLS US ABOUT WHERE THEY ARE GETTING IT FROM. CHRISTINA: DETECTIVES SAY THOSE CLUES HELPED LEAD TO THE ARREST OF SUSPECTED DEALER LOGAN SILLIMAN IN SOUTH LOUISVILLE. POLICE SAY HE SOLD HEROIN TO A MAN IN DECEMBER. THAT MAN LATER OVERDOSED AND DIED.>>WE WERE CONTACTED BY THE LEAD HOMICIDE EFFECTIVE. WE MADE THE SCENE, THAT THE FAMILY. THAT CASE IS ONE WHERE EVERYTHING KIND OF ALIGNED. CHRISTINA: SILLIMAN HAS BEEN INDICTED ON FEDERAL CHARGES OF SELLING HEROIN THAT CAUSED A DEADLY OVERDOSE. IT’S AN UNPRECEDENTED CHARGE FOR OUR REGION, AND IT CARRIES A 20-YEAR SENTENCE WITH NO CHANCE OF PAROLE.>>GOING INTO THIS, I DON’T THINK ANY OF US ANTICIPATED HOW EMOTIONAL IT COULD BE. IT’S HARD. CHRISTINA: AUTHORITIES SAY 80% OF THE SUSPECTED OVERDOSE DEATHS IN 2017 HAVE BEEN LIKELY FROM FENTANYL, A SYNTHETIC OPIOID THAT DEALERS USE TO CUT HEROIN, TO MAKE IT STRONGER AND CHEAPER. THIS IS A –>>THIS IS A STIFF, SIGNIFICANT PENALTY THAT CAN COME WITH TRAFFICKING A VERY SMALL AMOUNT OF HEROIN, BUT THE PROBLEM IS THAT SMALL AMOUNT O HEROIN IS KILLING SOMEBODY’S SON OR DAUGHTER. THOSE SENTENCES MAY BE STIFF, BUT THESE GUYS NEED TO KNOW THOSE SENTENCES ARE OUT THERE. IF YOU’RE GOING TO PEDDLE THIS POISON, WE’RE LOOKING FOR YOU, AND IF WE CATCH YOU, THERE IS A SIGNIFICANT HAMMER. VICKI: AND WHILE POLICE AND FEDERAL AGENTS FIGHT THE ISS ON THE STREETS, MANY ARE BATTLING ADDICTION AT HOME, OFTENTIMES IN SILENCE. NEARLY 5 MILLION AMERICANS ARE ADDICTED TO PRESCRIPTION PILLS, A 300% INCREASE SINCE 1999. THE FACE OF ADDICTION IS GETTING YOUNGER. ERIC KING LOOKS AT THE PAINFUL REALITY THROUGH THE EYES OF A PARENT WHO LOST HIS SON TO ADDICTION.>>AS I STARTED TO WALK UPSTAIRS, MY HEART FELL WITH EACH STEP I WOULD TAKE. I JUST GOT A BAD FEELING. AS AGAINST THE TOP OF THE STAIRS AND WALKED INTO HIS BEDROOM, I OPENED THE DOOR AND COULD SEE HIS FEET AND HOW PALE WHITE THEY LOOK. I LOST IT AND ASKED MY WIFE TO CALL 911. I PULLED MY SUNDOWN DOWN ON THE FLOOR AND TRY TO GET HIM CPR. I TRY FOR ABOUT 15 OR 20 MINUTES. BY THE TIME THEY GOT THERE. THEY TOOK OVER. MY WIFE AND ME WERE DEVASTATED. THEY SAID THERE WAS NOTHING WE COULD DO FOR HIM, AND WE BOTH LOST IT. ERIC: GREG ALLEN WAS 27 YEARS OLD. HE DIED IN DECEMBER 2016, JUST A FEW WEEKS SHY OF HIS BIRTHDAY. ALTHOUGH HIS DRUG STRUGGLE ENDED WITH HEROIN, HIS DAD KEN SAYS, IT DIDN’T START THERE, >>IN HIS SENIOR YEAR, IT WAS WE DIDN’T KNOW HE HAD STARTED USING THE PAIN PILLS.>>NO KID, NO INDIVIDUAL GOES INTO HAVING HER FIRST DRINK OR SMOKING MARIJUANA AND SAYING I’M GOING TO TRY HEROIN. NOBODY SAYS THAT. ERIC: PRISCILLA MACINTOSH IS THE DIRECTOR OF THE MORTEN CENTER IN LOUISVILLE WHICH WORKS TO HELP REHAB AND CURB DRUG ADDICTION, AND RIGHT NOW, CIRCUMSTANC HAVE FORCED THEM TO FOCUS ON GENES.>>WE’VE HAD CALLS WHERE ELEMENTARY KIDS ARE CRUSHING OF SWEET TARTS AND SNORTING THEM UP THEIR NOSE. THERE’S THE SCENARIO WHERE WE HAD ADOLESCENTS WHO MAY BE OUR DRINKING, SMOKING MARIJUANA, AND USING PRESCRIPTION PILLS. THEY ARE TESTING THE WATERS. WITH THAT, MAYBE THEY GET IN TROUBLE. THE PARENTS ARE REALIZING THERE IS SOMETHING GOING ON. ERIC: ACCORDING TO THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ADDICTION MEDICINE, IN 2015, 276,000 KIDS IN THE U.S. BETWEEN THE AGES OF 12 AND 17 WERE ABUSING OVER THE COUNTER PAIN MEDS. AN ADDITIONAL 122,000 WERE ADDICTED TO PRESCRIPTION PAIN MEDS, AND 21,000 KIDS HAD TRIED ERA WHEN — HAD TRIED HEROIN, WITH AN ESTIMATED 5,000 CALLING THEMSELVES CURRENT USERS.>>RIGHT NOW IS A HEROIN EPIDEMIC. IF WE ARE GOING TO GET OUT, IT HAS TO START AT A YOUNG AGE.>>PEOPLE ARE INQUISITIVE. THE YOUNGER WE ARE, THE MORE INQUISITIVE WE ARE. IT’S HOW WE LEARN. YOU MIGHT TRY SOMETHING THE FIRST TIME. HEROIN IS THE ONE THING YOU CANNOT TRY ONE TIME. ERIC: FOR KEN, IT’S ABOUT REPLAYING HIS SON’S LIFE, TRAVELING THE PAINFUL ROAD OF CONSTANTLY ASKING IF THERE WAS SOMETHING MORE HE COULD HAVE DONE OR SAID THAT WOULD HAVE CHANGED HIS SONS PASS. — HIS SONS PASS. DESPITE THE DAILY HORROR OF THAT TREK, IT COMES WITH A SMALL BIT OF SOLACE KNOWING HIS STORY, HIS SON’S STORY COULD POTENTIALLY HELP ANOTHER FAMILY STRUGGLING WITH ADDICTION OR EVEN CONCERNS OF THE POSSIBILITY OF IT.>>THERE’S NOT A DAY THAT GOES BY THAT WE DON’T SHED TEARS. HE MEANT THAT MUCH TO US. I KNOW OTHER FAMILIES ARE GOING THROUGH THE SAME THING. I DON’T WANT TO SEE ANYBODY HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS. IT’S PAINFUL. VICKI: COMING UP NEXT, TRACING THE ORIGINS OF THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC.>>HEROINE, COCAINE, CRANKED. YOU NAME IT, IT’S HERE. VICKI: WE WILL TAKE YOU TO A SMALL EASTERN KENTUCKY TOWN WHERE PHARMACIES DOMINATE THE LANDSCAPE, AND ADDICTS ARE FUELING CRIME.

1 thought on “STATE OF ADDICTION: Epidemic hits Louisville hard”

  1. This Heroin Epidemic will eventually bankrupt this country, you can't indefinitely throw money at this. The price for Narcan will one day cost $1,000/bottle because of inflation alone, and what about the cost of riding in thousands of ambulance rides, and emergency hospital visits, eventually the ship will sink because there is too much water in the vessel.

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