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Officials Say 80% of Holiday Weekend Overdoses Ended in Death


In light of a recent rash of overdose – related deaths, Kentucky public health officials say they can't predict drug overdose activity across Kentucky.  But they have gained some insights about heroin use from voluntary reporting by medical partners.  Preliminary reports to the Department of Public Health show 15 overdoses, 12 of them fatal, from noon last Friday until Monday morning. 

Deputy Senior Commissioner Dr. Connie White says the 12 deaths are not surprising., “From what our partners are telling us, it’s not.  We don’t have a number to compare to, last weekend or this time last year.  But, this seems to be what the hospital systems were expecting to see on a regular weekend."

White says the fact that 80 percent of the overdoses reported ended in death is haunting information.  She says it’s an indication of more work to be done in educating the public about the use of Naloxone, which can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose.

The state public health administrator says it’s too early to know if these cases are tied to Fentanyl-laced drugs, "We’re very hopeful that that has run its course, but we don’t have any data to say that for sure.”

White says there were concerns the overdose number might run higher like that experienced in towns like Cincinnati and Huntington West Virginia in recent weeks. ?

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