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The Commonwealth

Addiction recovery official: opioid problem continues to grow as does residential treatment

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Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that nearly 24-hundred Kentuckians died from a drug overdose in 2021. That’s more than a 13% increase over 2020, the year the COVID pandemic invaded Kentucky.

Jonathan Gay is the director of external affairs for Addiction Recovery Care. He said the problem of opioid addiction is enormous and will consume a lot more resources for quite a few years. Gay said the deadly substance fentanyl is being found in various drugs like ecstasy, Xanax, and even Adderall.

“We are certainly in an era where if you take a drug and don’t know where it came from, you’re literally taking your life in your hands,” said Gay.

Officials with Addiction Recovery Care say fentanyl continues to dominate the drug supply. Gay said treatment can help in more than one way.

“That way they’re not out on the street, either at risk of overdosing or at risk of getting caught with some very serious controlled substances and quite possibly trafficking in those controlled substances and putting themselves in jeopardy of a really strong prison sentence,” said Gay.

Gay said ARC with 30 addiction treatment programs across the state, is serving more than a thousand people each day. The administrator noted that the figure was under a thousand last year. Gay added the problem keeps growing as does ARC.

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