BURLINGTON, Ky. -- Boone County parents can learn how to help keep their kids off drugs in the face of a heroin problem striking the Tri-State.
The Boone County School District is set to hold two town hall meetings on the issue.
The first will take place 7 p.m. Wednesday at the First Church of Christ in Burlington. The second will start at 7 p.m. Thursday at Conner High School in Hebron.
The “Taking a Stand” meetings are specifically for parents and middle school students this week.
During the meetings, people will have a chance to meet parents of young people making a recovery from heroin addiction and parents who have lost children to heroin overdose.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 4 million American children over the age of 11 have tried heroin at least once and 23 percent become addicts.
Officials said part of the reason heroin has become so widespread is that is has become cheaper and easier to obtain than marijuana.
- Statewide, heroin overdose deaths increased by 550 percent between 2011 and 2012. In 2012, heroin overdose cases accounted for almost 20 percent of all Kentucky Medical Examiner drug overdose cases, up from only 3.22 percent in 2011.
- According to the "Trust for America's Health" report released in October 2013, drug overdose deaths have quadrupled in Kentucky since 1999, higher than all states but West Virginia and New Mexico.
- In Northern Kentucky the number of overdose deaths doubled between 2010 and 2012 from 31 to 61.
- In 2011, 60 percent of Kentucky's heroin prosecutions were in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties, which make up 8.4 percent of the state's population.
- Rates of acute infections of Hepatitis C in Northern Kentucky doubles the state rate and are 24 times the national rate. Public health officials attribute Northern Kentucky's high infection rate to the region's high levels of the intravenous (IV) use of heroin.
- Admissions for heroin addiction increased from 64 percent in 2009 to 87 percent in 2012 at the region's only non-medical detoxification unit.
- According to the Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force, the number of court cases for heroin possession and trafficking increased 500 percent from 2008 to 2012 in Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties (from 257 to 1,339), and is expected to double in 2013.
- In 2011, nearly 8 percent of youth in 12th grade in Kentucky reported that they had used heroin 1 or more times—three times the U.S. rate. (CDC YRBS)