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Old drug has a new and deadly grip in Kentucky


LEXINGTON, Ky.(WKYT)--It's an epidemic.

Overdose deaths in Kentucky are skyrocketing.

The concern for years has been prescription pills, but a push to block the pill pipeline now seems to be leading addicts down another dangerous road.

Tonight we investigate the drug popular in the 70's that is making a comeback and why people in central Kentucky are dying to get their hands on.

Her name is Annie and the story she has to tell at just 24-years-old is powerful.

"I was an iv user," said Annie.

We have chosen not to use Annie's full name or disclose where she is from for this story.

She doesn't fit the image of what you might consider a junkie, but she was.

"I was spending anywhere between $70 and $140 a day, if not more."

Her choice of getting high is a drug that Kentucky law enforcement says is making a comeback.

"It was offered to me, I tried it and I have to say I loved it."

At 18, Annie was hooked on a deadly drug.

She came from a middle class family, never wanted for anything, but she lost it when she traded prescription pills for a much more dangerous drug in heroin.

Living in Northern Kentucky she was venturing into a seedy area of Cincinnati to find her next fix.

Annie soon forgot about college, family and the life she once knew.

"The drugs were so powerful that I just had to have it and I was willing to do whatever it took to have that."

"Let me tell you something we are seeing a surge in the amount of heroin that has come into this community," said Fayette County Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson.

Larson says a look at the number of heroin overdose deaths in Fayette County in the last year signifies its deadly comeback.

In 2012 there were 63 drug overdoses, 22 of them from heroin, in 2011 there were only five reported heroin related deaths.

"We are told the heroin is coming from Cincinnati, coming from Detroit and Atlanta, coming from Mexico," said Larson.

Heroin is a drug that is generally snorted or injected in the powder form and Larson says its cheap.

Pills like oxy can cost anywhere from $80 to $100, heroin can go for $20 a hit.

"With it, heroin its nothing but a street drug and you have no clue what you are putting in your body how strong it is, how weak it is," said Larson.

And that is what law enforcement like Lexington Police worry is causing so many deaths, users here just aren't use to its potency and people are dying.

Annie was almost one of those statistics.

Now at 24 she is 16 months sober, to this day she still carries the scars of her time spent shooting up in her arm.

A drug possession charge and an overdose scare were both wake up calls that led Annie to make the first step to get herself clean.

"I work, I have hopes and plans to go back to school, my family is in my life today."

Annie hopes to work with children once she completes her college education.

Police say that right now the northern Kentucky and Louisville areas are seeing a lot of heroin, but that is slowly infiltrating the central Kentucky area too.

According to the Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force, heroin related cases have now exceeded Oxycontin cases in northern Kentucky.


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