Carroll County struggles with heroin problem - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Carroll County struggles with heroin problem

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CARROLLTON, Ky. (WDRB) -- Authorities in this small northern Kentucky community are calling the area's struggle with heroin an "epidemic."

Five overdose deaths in the past year and a half along with an overcrowded jail leaves this county of 11,000 people facing a large problem, authorities here say. And the city of Carrollton's close proximity to the Interstate 71 creates a "heroin pipeline," Sheriff Jamie Kinman says - giving users quick access to heroin in Cincinnati and Louisville.

"We have seen a rise in heroin in the last two to three years. We have a big problem here," Kinman said during an interview with WDRB News Wednesday.

Sitting on his desk in clear evidence bags lay $120 worth of heroin - taken off the same streets two weeks ago. Just last week, the arrests and indictments of six people took more of the drugs off the streets, he says. He expects more indictments this month.

"That's heroin packaged in foil from cigarettes," Kinman said.

Kinman says the relatively low price and availability of heroin are causing it to take over Carroll County. Jailer Mike Humphrey says while only 20 percent of the current jail population is there on heroin, that figure grows to roughly 90 percent when you include those jailed on probation violations and petty crimes committed to support a heroin habit.

"I'd say 90 percent of my population right now is because of heroin or drugs of some sort," Humphrey told WDRB News.

Jessica Herrell considers herself one of the lucky ones. A former heroin and pill user, Jessica says her two stints in jail didn't help kick her habit. Watching her brother die of a heroin overdose - did.

"He was more than a brother to me. He was a superhero. And to see him that weak - I saw him take his last breath - to see him that weak, that was big wake up call," Herrell said.

Clean for nearly a year and a half, Jessica says she's unwilling to live that lifestyle and still watches as her friends and family members are "strung out" or in jail.

"I've just see so many people and watch them lose everything," Herrell said.

Jailer Mike Humphrey says it appears to him like more people are arrested for heroin than DUI in Carroll County as of late. And coming off that drug can make people ill, which causes Humphrey to spend more tax money on medical care.

"I used to have a doctor here three days a week, now I have a nurse here five days a week," Humphrey said.

Kinman also says those he arrests aren't worried about going to jail, they're more concerned with getting "dope sick" because the withdrawal effects of heroin can be nauseating, difficult and painful.

Sheriff Kinman says the arrests last week of six people he hopes will cut into the problem. Jessica claims the problem is within.

"They blame the parents, the blame the police, but it's not their fault. You have to want to live a different life," Herrell said.


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