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New report shows Kentucky's overdose rates fell nearly 10%

Graphic showing the decline in Kentucky overdose deaths
Kentucky Governor's Office
Graphic showing the decline in Kentucky overdose deaths

For the second year in a row, The number of overdose deaths in Kentucky has fallen. The 2023 Kentucky Drug Overdose Fatality Reports shows the commonwealth had nearly a ten percent drop in deaths due to drug usage. That translates to just under two thousand Kentuckians dying of overdoses in 2023.

The report shows Fentanyl accounted for just over 79% of these deaths. Van Ingram is the executive director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy.

During a press conference, he said the reduction in deaths is due to the effort of many organizations working together. One of those is Operation UNITE and their KY HELP Call Center.

“Nearly 4,000 people in 2023 called said “I need help, I have an addiction, I need help.” The folks that work there are so compassionate and so patient and help so many people find the help they need.”

Ingram also said nearly 36-thousand people used the 84 syringe service program sites across the state.

Katie Marks is the commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities. During a press conference, she said it is important for those who go through recovery to share their stories.

“We're fighting back against the stigma that perpetuates shame and isolation. “Unshamed Kentucky” is our state's anti-stigma campaign and in the past six months alone, it has had 2.8 million video views of Kentuckians sharing their stories.”

The reports shows that Fentanyl accounted for 79 percent and methamphetamine accounted for 55 percent of overdose deaths. The two continue to be the most prevalent drugs contributing to overdoses in the state.

The 2023 Kentucky Overdose Fatality Report is compiled by the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center using data from the Office of Vital Statistics, the Office of the State Medical Examiner and Kentucky’s coroners.

Additional treatment resources are available by calling the KY Help Call Center at 833-8KY-HELP (833-859-4357) to speak one-on-one with a treatment specialist.

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Stan Ingold is WEKU's News Director. He has worked in public broadcasting for 18 years, starting at Morehead State Public Radio before spending the past 10 years at Alabama Public Radio. Stan has been honored with numerous journalism awards for his public radio reporting.
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