Jessamine County Attorney’s Office and Fiscal Court to screen PSA that combat heroin abuse among older adults
Wilmore, Ky. – On Wednesday, June 28 at 7 PM at the Andrew S. Miller Center for Communications at Asbury
University in Wilmore, Kentucky, Jessamine County Attorney Brian Goettl, Judge Executive David West,
and the Jessamine County Fiscal Court will host a special screening of “The Opiate Epidemic and You,” a
public service announcement (PSA) created to educate the public on the dangers of opiate prescription
pain medications leading to heroin addiction.
The PSA is aimed at a 35 and older demographic because the numbers regarding addiction among that
age group are “staggering,” County Attorney Goettl said. Those numbers include an increase of
approximately 61% in drug overdose hospitalizations of those 55 and older from 2000 to 2014,
according to a study provided by the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC). In
Kentucky residents aged 25‐34 experienced a 28% increase from 2000 to 2015.
From 2011 to 2015, heroin has risen to the top of the list of drugs contributing to Kentucky overdose
deaths, with 42 deaths in 2011 and 293 in 2015. KIPRC reported a 20.6% increase in heroin overdose
death rates between 2014 and 2015 among all Kentucky residents, with 1,220 people dying in 2015. By
comparison, Jessamine County experienced a 39% increase (8 drug overdose deaths in 2011, and 13
deaths in 2015).
“It’s a disturbing trend, and it began in earnest just under four years ago,” Goettl said. “My office
handles felony preliminary hearings, and we went from one heroin possession case over the course of
my first 10 years in office – to an average of two or three cases a week starting in late 2013.”
In recognition of the problem, the Jessamine County Attorney’s Office, working with the Jessamine
County Health Department participated in public health forums and committees to study and address
drug abuse in the county. Those groups are continuing their important work even today.
The Jessamine County Attorney’s Office has also initiated other programs aimed at the opioid epidemic.
For instance, the office worked with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to develop a CORe criminal
docket with state funding that is designed to get low level drug offenders into a treatment program as
quickly as possible. In addition, the Jessamine County Attorney’s Office has a Special Assistant United
States Attorney who is working with local law enforcement officers to develop Federal criminal cases
against those peddling heroin in the community. “We are the only county in Kentucky that I know of
with a Special Assistant United States Attorney who is dedicated to going after drug traffickers,” Goettl
“Although Jessamine County is doing a phenomenal job of fighting drug abuse, we are, like other
communities, aiming our drug abuse education programs almost exclusively at younger age groups.
When I saw the KIPRC report in April, I realized that older residents who have been prescribed highly
addictive pain medications such as oxycodone are also at serious risk of becoming addicted to illicit
drugs,” Goettl said. “Once the prescriptions are cut off, there is an ever‐increasing risk that those older
residents will turn to heroin,” he explained. “We want to stop this from happening by educating the
public to the danger presented by prescription drug abuse.”
“To my knowledge, no one else is addressing the problem as it relates to those 35 and older,” he
explained. “I conceived and wrote the PSA, but the credit for the project should go to those in my
office—to my prosecutors who run the prosecution programs that have funded the PSA and child
support staff who deal with addiction problems on a daily basis.”
After writing the PSA, Goettl recruited former Commonwealth Attorney Tom Lockridge, a principal
owner of Lucky Day Studios LLC, to produce and film the project. Funding was provided in a cooperative
effort between the Jessamine County Attorney’s Office and Jessamine County Fiscal Court. Jessamine
County Public Health Director Randy Gooch and KIPRC employees consulted and provided script
approval, and the Jessamine County Safe Communities Coalition provided additional support.
The PSA will be available on www.jessamineco.com and www.jchd.org as well as the Jessamine County
YouTube channel. It will also be shown at the Movie Tavern in Nicholasville’s Brannon Crossing
Shopping Center and will be made available to communities throughout the Commonwealth. “Our hope
is that this PSA will eventually be viewed throughout the country, and that it will start a new
conversation—of educating older adults regarding the dangers presented by prescription painkillers and
opiate abuse,” Goettl said.
Members of the press as well as Jessamine and Fayette County politicians and law enforcement officials
as well as others have been invited to attend the screening. In addition to the screening, the event will
include a KIPRC presentation outlining pertinent statistics and brief talks given by Randy Gooch the
Jessamine County Public Health Director, a representative from Congressman Barr’s office and others to
explain Jessamine County’s efforts to combat the problem. “The whole program will take only a half an
hour or so, but the information presented is important—and can be extremely useful in helping fight
this rapidly increasing problem,” Goettl said. The Andrew S. Miler Center for Communication Arts and
Asbury University theater room holds a movie screen and movie theater style seats; seating is limited
but open to the public.