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Heroin fighting bus used in recovery effort

FORT THOMAS, Ky. (Joe Webb) -- Northern Kentucky's war on heroin has a new weapon, an assault vehicle that was deployed for the first time Wednesday afternoon.

It's a 1967 Volkswagen bus and its commanding officer is a mom who lost a son to addiction and doesn't want to leave any others behind.

The bus will stop at the First Christian Church in Fort Thomas from 7p.m. to 9p.m. Wednesday, July 23.  They will distribute Naloxone kits to help at-risk families save loved ones from an overdose.  Jim Wethington put the final touches on what has been tabbed as, "Casey's Bus." 

Wethington's son, Casey, bought the 1967 VW Kombi with money he got as high school graduation presents.  Casey Wethington died of a heroin overdose in 2002.  The bus was labelled with anti-heroin and pro-recovery messages.  It will be a rolling resource when people advocating recovery host community meetings like the one happening Wednesday.  The bus will be used to distribute Naloxone kits. 

Dr. Jeremy Engel said it was a way to provide a needed service that's rarely available, "Basically, Naloxone is a medication that reverses overdose.  It does the same sort of thing paramedics have been using for years.  Basically it's now legal in northern Kentucky to dispense it."
 
Engel will write prescriptions for the kits to people who are at risk.  The goal: Save lives and get people into recovery.

People Advocating Recovery's Jason Merrick said, "To come together and learn how to reverse the effects of a potentially fatal situation and overdose.  And actually be a part of the solution instead of just a bystander and watching it happen."

There is both irony and whimsy in an old hippie van's enlistment in the war on drugs.  But it was one family's serious attempt to keep giving back after so much was taken from them.  Naloxone kits are free to those who come to meetings.  They were donated by Northern Kentucky Hates Heroin.



Follow Joe Webb on Twitter @joewebbwkrc   and LIKE him on Facebook


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