Heroin overdoses have doubled from a year ago, says Northern Kentucky health-care provider

Posted at 7:13 PM, Jul 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-21 19:13:39-04

COVINGTON, Ky. – Heroin overdose have doubled from last year, and experts are looking at new ways to address the crisis, says a Northern Kentucky health system.

Aschel Kruetzkamp looks at the data and admits it’s puzzling.

"June historically has been like our lowest month since I've been collecting the data and this year we've had 175 overdoses," says St. Elizabeth Healthcare's emergency room nurse manager.

Even though the trend is clear, the reason is less obvious. Some experts put the blame on the strength of the addiction.

"It has taken such control of their brain  - essentially being hijacked, Kruetzkamp says.

“They're not rationally thinking. They're not thinking that this could be my last time to use or am I going to overdose."

When users do overdose, St. Elizabeth provides them with a narcan rescue kit before they're discharged. St. E’s Covington location also just added an on-site counselor who will meet with patients face to face to assess their addiction.

"We're going to continue to fight this fight and we're going to continue to provide resources and do anything we can to help those struggling with opiod addiction," Kruetzkamp says.

Overdose numbers in Ohio were not immediately available, but those with the health collaborative say they've seen an increase as well.

SEE WCPO's complete coverage of "Heroin in the Tri-State."