New Kentucky heroin law has made slow progress battling epidemic

When then-Gov. Steve Beshear signed the new heroin bill into law in late March, there were smiles all around. Money was soon to flow to help addicts, laws were getting tougher on dealers, first responders were freed up to save more overdose victims and needle exchanges became possible.

But despite the relatively rapid disbursement of $5 million in new funding since then, heroin use is still climbing according to the most recent statistics available.

Data released this month shows that overdose visits to the five emergency rooms for St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Northern Kentucky climbed more than 73 percent through November 2015 as compared with the same period last year. In fact, this year's total of 1,074 such emergency room visits through November is 44 percent higher than all of 2014.

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