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As Illegal Prescription Drugs are Fought, Heroin Growth in Kentucky "Alarming"

From the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area:

Over the last decade, the Appalachia HIDTA region has experienced an epidemic in the abuse of prescription medication and the resulting overdoses associated with their abuse. 

 

Numerous theories exist as to why this region of the country has developed such a sensational appetite for prescription medication. These theories include, but are not limited to the socially acceptable use of doctor-prescribed drugs, overall greed within the medical community, relative low-cost of legally prescribed medications, and the lack of socio-economic boundaries associated with prescription drug abuse. 
 
Local law enforcement became more focused on the issue as addiction rates and overdose deaths in this region soared. As a result, drug seekers traveled out of state to obtain prescription medication in an effort to circumvent drug 
monitoring programs and law enforcement efforts. The insurgence of out of state “pill mills” gained the attention of law enforcement across the nation.  In the wake of law enforcement efforts nationally, out of state sources have become 
more difficult to find. 
 
It has been proven that as law enforcement suppresses a particular drug market, a cheaper and often more dangerous option emerges.  We are once again presented with the daunting task of attempting to stop the influx of such a drug.  In the four-state region of Appalachia HIDTA (Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia), we are beginning to see alarming increases in the submission of heroin to state crime labs. As the chart indicates, some of the states have more than doubled their submissions in just two short years.
 
Numbers of heroin submission to state crime labs:
  2010 2011 2012
Kentucky 443 779 1187*
Tennessee 66 73 120
Virginia 2203 2033 2062
West Virginia 156 182 203*

*2012 data incomplete at the time of release

Source: HIDTA

 

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