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Heroin overdoses skyrocket in Shelbyville

Posted at 7:47 PM, Sep 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-30 19:47:48-04

SHELBYVILLE, Ind. -- Shelbyville, Indiana is a town under siege.

Heroin has a tight grip on the community, and it has impacted everything from public health to public safety.

The number of people who have overdosed on the drug has skyrocketed in recent days. This month alone, Shelbyville has had more overdoses than it had all summer.

Throughout the summer months, the Shelbyville Fire Department responded to 46 heroin overdoses. In September, that number soared to 66.

"In the past, we would see one or two occasionally in a year. Then it got to be one or two a month. Now we're seeing one or two a week. And now, once a day at a time,” Lt. Jerry Tennell of the Shelbyville Fire Department said. 

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The drug’s impact goes beyond just the user. Police say the town’s crime rate has spiked as people who are high on drugs, or people who need money for drugs have engaged in unlawful and illegal activities.

"We've started seeing our thefts go up, automobile break-ins go up, our home invasions go up, all revolving around one thing. And it's narcotics in our county,"  Lt. Mike Turner of the Shelbyville Police Department said. 

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Nowhere has heroin had a bigger impact than on the home life.

Tessie Hagerman has two adult children that are recovering heroin addicts.

"I have watched their health deteriorate. They've turned into what I call chronic liars. They've stolen from me. They've turned our house upside down,” she said.

Shelbyville has a heroin habit. Sadly, one thing it does not have is a treatment center where addicts and users can get the treatment they need.

Next month, the Shelby County Drug Free Coalition will sponsor a symposium called The New Heroin Explosion in the Hoosier State.