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After Chief's Request for Money, Group Gives Thousands for Heroin OD Reversal

In a single half hour during Wednesday night's Bellevue City Council meeting, Bellevue-Dayton Fire Chief Michael Auteri was notified of two heroin overdoses in the two cities. 

The startling trend is breaking the department's budget.

A week ago, Auteri told the Dayton City Council that at this time last year, there had been 22 reported heroin overdoes in the two cities. Last week, he said the year-to-date number was 54. On Wednesday, the number had increased to more than 60.

Emergency responders in the region are frequently equipped with naloxone, or Narcan, which can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose, effectively saving a patient's life. But with increasingly dangerous batches of heroin flowing into Northern Kentucky, Auteri said that his department is having to use multiple - sometimes four to eight - vials of Narcan to save someone.

The average cost for a vial is $40.

He is requesting $10,000 in the next fiscal year budget for Narcan and told Dayton council that the department was nearly out.

NKY Hates Heroin, an activist group, saw the news and cut Auteri a check for $4,000. It will help get the department through the end of the year, Auteri said.

The organization's donation is good for 100 vials of Narcan, it said in a Facebook post. Auteri told Bellevue council about the donation at Wednesday's meeting.

The department is working with police in both cities to identify where overdose victims live and to detect any trends or to evaluate any potentially troubled residential properties, he said.

Other notes:

State Senator Wil Schroder (R-Wilder) visited the council meeting to offer a recap of the recently concluded 2017 General Assembly session. He said that he expects for a special session - dealing with pension and tax reform - to be called in the fall.

Schroder was asked about the prospects for Lincoln Road, for which $1 million had been designated by the state only to be frozen with many other projects across the state in a move by the administration of Governor Matt Bevin. The so-called Pause-50 was put in place in 2016 so that the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, facing low cash flow, could pay its current expenditures before greenlighting the start of new projects, the state said at the time. "There was a bunch of projects that had the Pause 50," Schroder said. "When gas taxes dropped, a lot of the road funds were just depleted, so they're trying to build back up a reserve.

"We're getting there. Gas prices are going back up a little bit. I would like to see (Lincoln) done as well."

City Administrator Keith Spoelker noted that work continues on the Lincoln project as it relates to the Northern Kentucky Water District, which has restricted access to the road during work hours. 

The city continues to collect feedback from residents and stakeholders about what should come of the riverfront project adjacent to Harbor Greene. Several public meetings have taken place around town. "The main theme we're seeing right now is connectivity to the river and connectivity to everythin," Spoelker said. "So, connections are important."

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher