Heroin abuse, according to an eastern Kentucky prosecutor, is growing more evident in Appalachia. Given the Commonwealth’s crackdown on prescription drug abuse, more users are turning to illegal narcotics like heroin. Commonwealth’s Attorney Brent Turner is seeing it in Floyd County.
“It’s like anything else, with drugs there’s whatever becomes the haughty drug of choice it will filter out into the rural areas, whether it was methamphetamine and now heroin, so it’s just another front that we’ll have to try to deal with unfortunately,” said Turner.
The impacts of drug abuse on eastern Kentucky’s economy are many. Turner says employers are not interested in people with drug problems. However, the prosecutor adds, it’s not fair to say a loss of coal and other manufacturing jobs has more people selling illegal drugs.
“You know if you talk to a coal operator, contractors, plumbers, anybody that is hiring any number of people to do anything, they will tell you, one of the biggest problems they have is finding people to work that can stay clean and show up every day,” said Turner.
There is one positive trend. Turner says the number of drug overdose deaths in his community dropped slightly last year. The Commonwealth’s Attorney, along with other prosecutors, were honored Thursday during a ceremony in Lexington.