Heroin intervention program comes to Louisville Metro to fight opioid epidemic

DEA launches program to fight opioid epidemic

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Heroin overdoses are becoming all too common in Louisville Metro. A Norton emergency room doctor calling it a ‘public health crisis,’ and it doesn't surprise Pat Fogarty. 

“I got to the point where I didn't care.  You're in such a deep dark hole,” he explained while remembering his own addiction. 

Fogarty is a recovering addict.  He started on pain pills and then switched to heroin.  He's been clean now for 8 years. 

“From year one to two, I had a lot of thoughts of using, but I had the tools to combat that.”

He was able to turn his life around, but the growing number of heroin overdoses Louisville has seen this year is alarming according to LMPD Chief Steve Conrad. 

“We have seen many more people die from heroin overdoses than we have from any other violent crime, and it is time that we have an opportunity to start holding people truly accountable,” said Chief Conrad. 

That's why LMPD is partnering with the DEA and U.S. Attorney's Office in Louisville to create a Heroin Intervention Program.   

“It's certainly not one or the other that's going to solve this issue.  It's going to take all hand on deck, there's no doubt about that,” said Fogarty. 

The initiative tackles three levels.  First, it’s about partnering with community organizations to educate the public of the dangers of opioid abuse. Second, it’s about using pharmacists, doctors, and drug manufacturers to increase awareness of the drug problem. Third, it’s about enforcing the law and targeting traffickers.

“Our targets are not addicts, nor those who share drugs with other addicts, but the dealers who are willing to destroy lives for the sake of profit,” said U.S. Attorney John Kuhn. 

But is it enough? 

“There's a reason why dealers are selling this stuff because there's a demand for it.  And even if we clean up all of the heroin and fentanyl in this region, we're still going to have the underlying issue of addiction, and something else will replace it,” explained Fogarty. 

Fogarty believes this is a step in the right direction, but the fight against addiction won't be easy.  

“It’s going to take a lot of work, and we can't expect any of this to be an overnight fix or an overnight solution, it could take years.  The reality is we're trying,” Fogarty said.  


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