Connersville holds anti-heroin rally

Tomi Schmid says heroin has destroyed her family.
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A dangerous and deadly drug that faded away with the eighties is back. Heroin is killing Hoosiers in alarming numbers in big cities as well as small communities. It is cheap and easy to buy.

One Connersville mom has had enough she's fighting back with an anti-heroin rally.

In Connersville, police says addicts can buy heroin within a few blocks of Main Street. It is the drug of choice.

Tomi Schmid is a mother who is passionate about taking on the dealers, the addicts and the system that's supposed to be helping them recover.

"Heroin and drug addiction has destroyed my family," she said.

Tomi was working up a sweat, putting flyers on cars in parking lots and streets, promoting her Stop Heroin rally.

She says drugs were connected to her brother's murder and heroin put her daughter in jail numerous times - starting as she was just 15 years old.

"Cops been to my house, took her out in cuffs," she said. "I called them. I didn't want to look at another one in a casket."

Five years ago, the mother and grandmother buried a granddaughter. Eighteen-month-old Jaiden died because of heroin.

"Mother was an addict," Tomi explained. "She got high and drove," causing an accident that killed the toddler.

Walking within sight of Fayette County Jail, City Hall and the Connersville Police Department, Lt. Joey Laughlin admitted, "If we left this spot right here would have an easier time acquiring heroin that we would marijuana."

Laughlin, a Sheriff's Department detective, worked narcotics six years and is now the vice president of a multi-county drug task force. He says a lot of addicts started out illegally using expensive prescription drugs.

"Oxycontin and that nature and the heroin has come here cheaper," he said.

A lot cheaper in Connersville and other Indiana communities.

An Indiana State Police anti-drug unit accustomed to confiscating a pound of heroin a year has already seized 22 pounds this year.

Indianapolis is on pace to recording twice as many heroin deaths as it had two years ago.

Tomi Schmid is trying to wake people up the problem and get addicts life-saving help.

"They need treatment, education and rehabilitation," she insisted. "Prison is not working" for her 23-year-old daughter and others.

Even some police agree more arrests, more jail cells, longer prison terms aren't enough. If addicts are to be free of heroin, they will need more services, more treatment and more help when they are free of prison.

The Stop Heroin Rally is Sunday at 2:00 pm at the Fayette County Courthouse in Connersville.