Special Report: Heroin in the Bluegrass

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Drugs. They're ripping apart communities all over the country.

"I think at first I use it to fit in. I started smoking marijuana when I was 14 - 15 years old drinking alcohol when I was same age. I think at first I just did it because I thought it was cool. I wanted to fit in. And when all my friends started to put the drugs down I just it escalated to a whole new level," recovering heroin addict, Jess Ramsey-Wright said.

In Kentucky. In Bowling Green.

"In the general area we've dealt with meth so long and now we've had over 800 percent increase in crystal meth that we have purchased or seized in a two year period. I think that's the drug of choice," Director of the Bowling Green - Warren County Drug Task Force, Tommy Loving said.

One drug, leading to the next, more dangerous drug.

"These are the pills I was taking was, you know, $30 to $100 and I could get heroin a lot cheaper than that it is pretty cheap. For one hit, one high it's probably 20 or 30 bucks," Ramsey-Wright said.

"When you're doing certain substances you kind of just surround yourself with the people that are doing those substances that. Make you feel part of make you feel wanted," Ramsey-Wright added.

A battle The Warren County Drug Task Force is battling every day.

"We did have a investigation about a year and a half ago the drug trade organization that was operating in Bowling Green and we were able to determine that the goal one goal they had was to seek a source of heroin and to bring into our community. And we were lucky enough to be able to have sufficient probable cause to make arrest and dismantle this drug trade organization before they were able to do that," Loving added.

The task force says heroin is not a problem here, like it is in other areas of Kentucky.

"Last year we only seized 10 grams of heroin. This year we haven't seized or purchased any heroin," Loving said.

"We certainly have all we can do dealing with meth cocaine synthetic drugs and marijuana," Loving added.

But, heroin could become a problem here.

"Our detectives are very mindful in their investigations while gathering intelligence through various means. Heroin is something we're always on top of because we do want to do all we can to prevent its tracking in this area," Loving said.

"If you can find one person that knows where to get it, you know 100 people that know where get it," Ramsey-Wright added.

Heroin has become so heavily used, that cities, including Bowling Green, have implemented a needle exchange program. Where users can exchange one dirty needle, for one clean one.

"A lot of the people that come through our program we may be the only sober person that they say you know we give them a good opportunity to talk to someone in the health care setting and getting a good idea of what services are available," Public Health Services Coordinator, Chip Kraus said.

"I never wanted help myself. I just thought I could just stay off the drugs and everything would be better. But I can take the drugs away I can remove the drugs away from myself. But I still felt empty inside you know there was there was a void," Ramsey-Wright added.

Hoping to get help to addicts sooner, rather than later.

"I got pulled over with a syringe and they put me on probation and the urge to use was so overwhelming on a daily basis I couldn't pass a drug test until I got some longer treatment longer help," Ramsey-Wright added.

One former heroin user, says for nearly three years, heroin was the first thing he had to do when he woke up.

"The high would wear off and two or three hours and I was doing whatever it took to get the next one. So probably 10 times a day I was using the needle using heroin every day," Ramsey-Wright added.

Programs like The MARC have helped addicts get their life back on track.

"It's gotten a lot better it's gotten a lot easier and I have a lot more respect for myself today than I did when I first walked through these doors," Ramsey-Wright said.

The Needle Exchange Program is one day a week, on Thursday's from 12- 4 p.m. at the Barren River Health Department.

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