A report released Friday shows that overdose deaths in Kentucky declined in 2012—the first time there has been such a drop in a decade.
But the report issued by the Office of Drug Control Policy also found that heroin deaths in the commonwealth last year increased by 550 percent over 2011.
The office’s executive director, Van Ingram, says Kentucky first started seeing an increase in heroin use and overdoses when the formulation for the painkillers Oxycontin and Opana were changed in order to make them more difficult for intravenous drug use.
The report also shows that two of the counties in the top ten for overdose deaths in 2011 and 2012 are in our listening area. Whitley County was eighth, with 56 overdose deaths per 100,000 people.
Monroe County was ninth, with 53 deaths per 100,000 people.
A drug task force in south-central Kentucky is on the verge of expanding into a third county.
The Bowling Green daily News reports the Barren-Edmonson County Drug Task Force is poised to add Allen County as a partner. The task force is based in Glasgow and investigates drug crimes in Barren and Edmonson counties.
Task force director Jeff Scruggs says the partnership has received approval from city and county governments in Allen County. The final steps are filing and registering paperwork to officially add the third county to the agency.
Kentucky U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell is urging White House Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske to include Hardin County in the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. That would mean more federal resources to combat illegal drugs in an area that has seen a significant increase in drug related crimes.
Drug crimes in Tennessee have risen to their second-highest number in eleven years. That comes despite the fact that overall crime rates in the Volunteer State are dropping. On the one hand, Tennessee has experienced four years of general crime declines. On the other hand, the Tennessean reports that drug-related incidents are on the rise throughout the state.