Kentucky leaders roll out plan for heroin overdose kits they say - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky leaders roll out plan for heroin overdose kits they say will save lives

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Supporters of legislation to help prevent heroin overdoses and addiction hold signs in Frankfort. Supporters of legislation to help prevent heroin overdoses and addiction hold signs in Frankfort.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky leaders say heroin use is nearing an epidemic level, but they have a small plan to fight the drug that continues to kill.

"One of our top priorities this legislative session is to address, in a comprehensive and aggressive way, one of the most frightening issues facing our families today: the explosion in the use of heroin in the Commonwealth of Kentucky," said Governor Steve Beshear. 

"Talk to some of the families circulating through the capitol today, and you'll hear agonizing descriptions of what it's doing to our people," he continued.

"I was about 15-years-old when I first started," said Jordan Middleton. "I lost everything. I lost everybody, I burned every bridge that I had ever built with my family."

"I ended up being homeless and my family didn't want anything to do with me anymore. They had to back off because I stole everything from them," said Sara Messer.

Both women are sober now and work at the Brighton Recovery Center for Women in northern Kentucky.

Sheryl Smith's son felt his demon was too big. "He actually shot himself. He called me minutes before hand. He just wanted forgiveness. He just knew he couldn't beat it (heroin)."

The crowd rallying in Frankfort Tuesday was pushing for solutions to the heroin problem in Kentucky. Some would like to see a crack down on dealers, others were pushing for more treatment facilities. On the same day, state leaders announce a step to save lives of heroin users in the form of a kit.

Two thousand kits will be distributed to three hospitals in Kentucky including U of L Hospital. Overdose patients can take them free of charge. 

"They and their families will be walking out of our ER's in our most affected areas with the medication that could potentially save their lives," Attorney General Jack Conway explained.

Inside the kit is naloxone, also known as narcan, which immediately reverses the effects of an overdose.

The kits will cost just over $100,000. The money comes from a $32 million settlement Attorney General Jack Conway secured with two pharmaceutical companies.

This is a pilot program, the hope is to expand it to 17 additional Kentucky hospitals or hospital systems in the future.

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