LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville is launching a new plan of attack against the city's deadly heroin epidemic.

At times this year, first responders have been overwhelmed with the number of heroin overdose calls, and on Thursday, experts broke down the problem and talked about possible solutions.

Several professionals from all over the country gathered to share research and ideas about what can be done to stop opioid abuse right here in Louisville. 

U.S. Attorney John Kuhn  says in the first six months of 2016, 180 people died from overdoses. Of that number, 78 percent were caused by heroin and fentanyl.

Law enforcement and officials with the DEA talked about treatment, recovery and solutions -- and identified the challenges they face.

One program already in the works is the DEA's "360 Degree Strategy" -- a multi-faceted plan aimed at breaking the deadly cycle.

Kuhn also says officials are aggressively seeking evidence at overdose scenes. They're recovering things like cell phones, to try and identify dealers.

Traffickers in Louisville are being targeted and prosecuted.

"We're going after the high-level traffickers who are just in this for the money," said Kuhn. "If we can prove that they sold heroin, fentanyl, any controlled substance that has caused an overdose, whether it's fatal or not, they're looking at a minimum of 20 years in prison." 

Kuhn also acknowledged that many of the homicides in Louisville are related to drug crimes.

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