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Southern Indiana Community Coping With Major Spike in Heroin Deaths

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A southern Indiana community is experiencing a large jump in the number of fatal heroin overdoses. 

Vanderburgh County is reporting 22 deaths this year—that’s triple the number from 2015.  The victims’ ages have ranged from the early 20s to late 50s. 

Chief Deputy Coroner Steve Lockyear says more people in the Evansville region are now dying from heroin overdoses than from prescription drugs.

"I think everybody is shocked that heroin has made such a large presence in this area," Lockyear told WKU Public Radio.  "I think they've thought it to be a drug from the alleys of New York City or Chicago and not something that would strike middle America, but it has definitely come here and come here in a big way."

Many of the people who have died this year from heroin overdoses also had Fentanyl in their system.  Fentanyl is another powerful opioid often added to heroin to increase its potency.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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