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Opioid epidemic spotlighted in hands on experience

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) With the heroin crisis being called the worst health epidemic we have in Allen County, several experts came together Thursday to address the problems.

"I have never seen a drug take hold of any community like what heroin has here," Fort Wayne Police Captain Kevin Hunter said.

The Allen County Health Department hosted the hands on event focusing on the scope of the opioid problem to treatment options.

"We could have anywhere from 6,000 to 40,000 people in Allen County misusing opioids," Allen County Health Commissioner Deb McMahan said. "Think about that. That's a lot of people."

Police said they saw an uptick in heroin starting in 2014. Since then it's changed and is often laced with other drugs.

"That is one of the main causes of our overdoses here in this area. We know that heroin is being laced with Fentanyl," Hunter said.

In the past seven years 418 people have died from overdoses in Allen County. Of that number 78 percent were from opioids.

"You may not be touched by this personally. You may not be touched by this professionally, but you are linked to all of these people through the IRS system because you will pay for these things," McMahan said.

There is help available in our area, and now it's all in one place, on one easy to use website called Look Up. It was started by the Lutheran Foundation and has everything people need to get help for depression to addiction.

"Including text to chat 24/7, including a 800 number they can call, you can search for a provider near you, screening tools, videos and all kinds of information," Lutheran Foundation CEO Marcia Haaff said.

To find resources on Look Up, click here.

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