Saturday, April 08, 2017

Opioid epidemic comes front and center in the Clark County newspaper.

No, that's not it, either.

If we can ignore the Jeffersonville newspaper's characteristically tacky self-promotion -- intrusive auto-play video, boilerplate "Crossroads of Crisis" as interchangeable with numerous other potential story lines -- this series has the potential to be genuinely useful, if for no other reason than shining a light on local politicians with their heads buried in the sand.

After all, this is a 1,500-word piece, staggering in length for a newspaper that insists 250 words are plenty for a letter writer to make his or her point. Bill and Susan are gunning for one of those CNHI in-house "see, we won again" awards, but if it gets this issue out in the open, then it's worth it.

And, if it's worth getting this issue out in the open, just imagine what the newspaper might be able to do if the same level of scrutiny was directed toward other hidden realities -- like the ongoing Chronicles of New Gahanian Corruption.

But wait.

The entire article takes place in Clark County, doesn't it? Apparently Southern Indiana has a new working synonym. Can't the dynamic duo make it official, and stop pretending that this newspaper covers New Albany and Floyd County?

The mayor will be pointing to this and saying, "See? Even the newspaper itself says the problem's in Clark County only."

CROSSROADS OF CRISIS: Heroin overdoses on the rise in Southern Indiana, by Elizabeth DePompei (All Clark, All of the Time Tome)

County health officer says epidemic is getting worse

SOUTHERN INDIANA — Soon after a needle exchange opened in Jeffersonville in late January, Clark County Health Officer Dr. Kevin Burke was reminded of why he declared an epidemic in the first place.

One of the first people to start receiving services from the exchange overdosed and died. The drug of choice, heroin, is the same drug Burke suspects is responsible for a spike in HIV and Hepatitis C cases.

It’s why he’s spent nearly two years tracking the drug and its consequences, and warning the public about the scourge that’s changing his community.

Burke has plenty of numbers, but he said there isn’t a reliable way to estimate just how many Clark County residents use heroin intravenously or otherwise. What he is more certain of is that the highly addictive opioid crosses all demographics.

“We used to think of opioid abusers as sort of inner-city Skid Row, destitute, down and out sort of individuals,” he said. “We were finding all socio-economic classes, all religions, all races, all ages, so it was a problem that sort of became part of the whole community rather than just a subset.”

Also in the newspaper:

Prescription opioids a leading pathway to heroin

Far from a 'good time': Evan Blesset working to help others avoid mistakes he made

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