Office of Drug Control Policy

Health
1:30 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Drug Overdose Deaths Drop in Kentucky, but Deaths from Heroin Skyrocket

Heroin deaths in Kentucky increased dramatically in 2012.

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.