Heroin users younger, crash more than drinkers

Posted at 12:08 AM, Mar 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-04 07:56:25-05

CINCINNATI – Two men on the frontlines of the Tri-State's battle against the heroin epidemic say it just keeps getting worse.

By numbers alone, counselors and police say the addicts and accidents they cause continue to grow.

"It's everywhere, and it's not over yet," says Nate Pelletier, executive director of the Joseph House recovery center in Over-the-Rhine.

"The issue continues to grow," says Fort Thomas police Sgt. Christopher Goshorn.

Goshorn was so concerned over the growth of heroin related crimes in his city that he helped launched H.I.T. -  a Heroin Interdiction Team. Officers scour I-275 and I-471 in Fort Thomas on the lookout for impaired drivers.

They're finding that alcohol is no longer the biggest threat to drivers' safety.

"We're seeing more opiate impairment than we are alcohol impairment in Fort Thomas," Goshorn said.

Experts are struggling for a successful strategy to deal with the addiction..

"We don't have a handle on it," Pelletier said,  "but the best thing I think right now is we know we need to."

Pelletier sees first-hand the devastation and the challenge. A big part of that challenge is discovering why people get addicted in the first place.

 "We haven't been able to pinpoint as to why someone actually uses because it's so widespread," he said.

"It is incredibly hard, for you have to manage social factors, there's economic factors, there's other things that we haven't been able to pinpoint as to why someone actually uses," Pelletier says.

Pelletier says he observes that the age of addicts appears to be dropping.

"Those who are younger who experiment are experimenting with things that are really bad from the get-go," he said.

SEE WCPO's complete coverage: Heroin in the Tri-State.
FIND help for heroin addicts and their families.