LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE/AP) - Vanderburgh County in southwest Indiana already has had 18 people die from heroin overdoses this year. That's triple the number from a year ago.
The victims have ranged in age from 24 to 58 and only four of the deaths in 2016 have been women. Chief Deputy Coroner Steve Lockyear says many of the people who have died this year from heroin overdoses have also had fentanyl in their system.
Fentanyl is another powerful opioid that authorities have long warned is often added to heroin to make it more potent. That added potency gives the drug an even higher overdose potential.
"Our city, our state and much of our nation are in the midst of a heroin epidemic," said Dr. Sarah Moyer, interim director of the Department of Public Health and Wellness. "Jefferson County has the most drug overdose deaths of any county in the state, as well as the most overdose deaths in which heroin was detected. Having more people in our city trained to administer Naloxone will literally make the difference between life and death."
On Monday, the Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition is offering overdose prevention training and free Narcan kits. Experts say all it takes is 15 to 20 minutes.
Training sessions are open to the public from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 400 East Gray Street.