INDIANAPOLIS - A new public service announcement campaign is warning Indianapolis residents about the dangers of heroin after the Marion County coroner's office reported 49 people died of overdoses from the drug in the first six months of this year.
"It's a very dangerous drug. It will kill, it can cause brain damage if your brain is deprived of oxygen. It has a huge impact collaterally with families, friends, loved ones," Dist. Lt. Scott Campbell with Indianapolis EMS said.
Coroner Frank Lloyd says the numbers represent a disturbing trend. Officials say the campaign launched Tuesday also follows a sharp increase in the number of emergency room visits and property crimes related to heroin use.
Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services chief Dr. Charles Miramonti says people with a heroin problem need to know that help is available to them.
Indianapolis Public Safety Director Troy Riggs previously said police have seen a steady increase in heroin-related activity across Indianapolis in part because of Indiana's crackdown on methamphetamine and illegal access to prescription drugs.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Kim Kelsay is part of the new campaign. She goes to schools to teach kids about the dangers of the drug that's extremely addictive -- and easy to overdose on.
"It's extremely easy because they don't know what dosage they're getting, because they get it from different sources. Another way that they overdose is they may try to stop using, so their tolerance level goes down and then they try to use the same amount and they end up overdosing," Kelsay said.
Officials hope the PSAs will help turn around the alarming trend.
There are treatment programs across the city, including the Eskenazi Mental Health Access Line: 317-630-7791.