Greetings from The Republic newsroom:

We’ve been covering the increasing and heartbreaking heroin and opiod epidemic in our community for some time.

Now that it’s mid-year, we’re circling back and checking in with community officials to see where we stand on a drug crisis that is killing our residents, tearing up families and creating mounting pressure points on our health care and criminal justice systems.

To be blunt, the grip heroin has on Bartholomew County is tightening, according to reporter Mark Webber, who has been digging into the numbers.

Here’s what he learned and is writing about:

  • The number of heroin overdoses reported during the first three months of this year has put Bartholomew County on pace to more than double the number experienced in 2015.
  • To date, Columbus Regional Health has seen more patients for heroin overdoses than it did in all of 2011, 2012 and 2013 combined.

And police told Mark that while heroin is getting the headlines, methamphetamine continues to be a very serious problem.

We’ll also delve into some of the discussion community officials studying the problem are having, including the differences among them on the best way to tackle the many issues associated with addiction.

You’ll want to read the stories in Friday’s Republic.

Here’s what else you need to know:

Going south? You’ll encounter some traffic snarls.
Indiana State Police say the southbound lanes of I-65 at mile marker 57.5 south of Columbus are closed because of a three-vehicle accident that happened at about 10 a.m.
Click here for the stories and photo.

A CVS in Columbus was robbed this morning.
Police have released photos of the suspects, and you probably won’t be surprised at what they took. Click here for the story.

An area boy and a Green Bay Packer did pushups together for the best reason.
Click here to watch the video and then read Friday’s Republic for the story.

Click here to send us your story ideas.

Have a good day!