Kentucky Sees First Drop in Overdose Deaths Since 2018
Thursday, April 27, 2023
Drug overdose deaths in Kentucky decreased 5% between 2022 and 2021, the first drop since 2018.
New data from the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center showed 2,127 Kentuckians died from a drug overdose in 2022 compared with 2,257 the year prior.
Gov. Andy Beshear pointed to a statewide program allowing Kentuckians without health insurance to enter residential treatment programs as a factor potentially driving the decline, and said the state's total number of treatment beds has expanded by more than 50% over the past few years. He added while the opioid epidemic isn't over, a silver lining is emerging.
"It's especially big news in that it's decreasing at a time, when the drugs out there are as powerful as they have ever been, and that means we're getting more people into treatment and keeping more people in recovery," Beshear noted.
Kentucky lawmakers passed two bills this year to strengthen recovery services, including House Bill 248, which outlines requirements for the certification, operation and oversight of recovery housing, and House Bill 148, which ensures direct payments from health insurance to the facilities providing care to ease the financial burden on individuals receiving treatment and their families.
Beshear pointed out the town of Morehead recently closed its main street to celebrate the opening of a new recovery center, noting communities across the Commonwealth are embracing access to treatment services.
"So what I believe has happened as much as anything else is we have finally reduced if not eliminated the stigma that is addiction," Beshear asserted. "Telling people that as long as they are trying, whether it's their first, fourth or tenth time, we're proud of them, and that the resources are there."
Residents needing recovery assistance can call the Kentucky Help Call Center at 833-8KY-HELP or 833-859-4357 to speak with a specialist and get connected to treatment.
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