Northern Kentucky town hall meetings to address how heroin affects you and your family

'Stories we've heard paint grim picture'

CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. – The effects of heroin are touching virtually every family in Northern Kentucky, even if folks can't see them, officials say.

The explosion of heroin use in Northern Kentucky is bringing together leaders to discuss what to look for and what’s being done to stem the flow of the illegal drug during six town hall-style meetings open to the community in both Kenton and Boone counties.

Nearly 20 percent of Kentucky’s overdose deaths in 2012 were attributed to heroin.

The open discussion aims to answer: Why is Northern Kentucky a hotspot for heroin trafficking and overdoses? How can the community combat the problem?

The forums will also work to educate attendees on how to spot an addict and how to get them help.

“Town hall meetings bring large-scale awareness to an issue that is affecting a community,” said Sarah White, organizer of an upcoming meeting in Crestview Hills.

“The meetings allow community members to engage in the conversation by asking questions and voicing their concerns. And the town hall meetings serve as a platform for local law enforcement, medical professionals, treatment agencies, coalitions… to highlight their efforts in combating the issue,” said White.  

“The stories we’ve heard from local law enforcement and the medical community paint a grim picture,” said Boone County Judge Executive Gary Moore, who is also a Heroin Task Force member. “We want to bring these issues to the public’s attention and let them know there are avenues for help if they or someone they know is struggling with heroin.”

During the past five years, various Boone County agencies have reported a boom in heroin abuse, related crimes and overdose deaths.

• In 2008, The NKY Drug Strike Force issued 53 arrests for heroin possession in Boone County. That number grew to 312 arrests in 2012.
• In 2008, The NKY Drug Strike Force issued two arrests for heroin trafficking. That number grew to 35 arrests in 2012.
• In 2009, the Florence Police Department reported 19 heroin-related cases. Through August 2013, the Florence Police Department has handled 96 heroin-related cases.
• In 2010, The Boone County Coroner reported 27 opiate overdose deaths. In 2012, The Boone County Coroner reported 35 opiate overdose deaths.

Kenton County has seen its own spike in heroin possession and trafficking cases in recent years.

Possession Cases

Year  Number of Felony Cases
2009   101
2010   134
2011   191
2012   225
2013   175 (thru 7/8/13)

Trafficking Cases

Year  Number of Felony Cases

2009   30
2010   13
2011   21
2012   58
2013   38 (thru 7/8/13)

“Drug use and trafficking has become a prevalent problem that has seen an exponential increase over the past three years. Unfortunately, Kenton County leads the state with 79 percent of the heroin arrests,” said Kenton County Police Chief Brian Capps.

“Many times nowadays, the community finds it more convenient to turn a blind eye instead of getting involved. And that’s a road that we don’t need to go down,” said Capps.

Upcoming town hall meetings in N.Ky.
Oct. 21- Boone County High School, 7056 Burlington Pike, Florence, 7-9 p.m.
Contact, Sarah White at (859) 283-0952

Oct. 21- Dixie Heights High School auditorium, 3010 Dixie Hwy., Crestview Hills, 6:30-8 p.m.
Contact, or visit

Oct. 23- Boone Co. Public Library – Main Branch, 1786 Burlington Pike, Burlington, 7-9 p.m.
Contact, Sarah White at (859) 283-0952

Oct. 28- Walton Verona High School, 30 School Road, Walton, 7-9 p.m.
Contact, Sarah White at (859) 283-0952

Oct. 29- Boone County Public Library – Scheben Branch, 8899 U.S. 42, Union, 7-9 p.m.
Contact, Sarah White at (859) 283-0952

Nov. 7- First Christian Church in Fort Thomas, at 7 p.m.

“What better format than town hall meetings drawing 200 plus people to talk and listen about heroin,” said Noel Stegner, who lost a family member to heroin in August and co-created with other family members.

“Hopefully we can help in our goal of keeping another young person from dying because of heroin,” said Stegner.

READ MORE FROM STEGNER'S STORY: Family loses son to addiction, creates org to help others

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