The Kentucky Injury and Prevention Research Center has issued a new report documenting overdose mortality and morbidity among Kentuckian.
Dr. Terry Bunn, Director of the Kentucky Injury and Prevention Research Center located in the UK College of Public Health says there are several positive signs since the data was last collected and reviewed in 2012. Overall, overdose deaths and emergency room visits due to prescription drug overdoses, has not increased in the last two years.
“Before we were doing probably at least a 20% increase every year if not more in drug overdose deaths in Kentucky but now it does seem to have leveled off so that is giving me a lot of hope.”
However, the report also shows a significant increase in overdose cases caused by one drug in particular.
“On the other end of the spectrum of course we are seeing the precipitous increase in heroin involvement. While the strategies are working to reduce drug overdose deaths due to pharmaceutical opiates, now the now the next task in my opinion is to tackle those that are involving heroin.”
Over a one year period, there was a 207% increase in heroin-involved deaths, a 174% increase for inpatient hospitalizations related to the drug and a 197% increase for Emergency Department visits due to heroin use.