A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Commonwealth Fund’s state scorecard finds deaths from suicide, alcohol, drugs, are regional epidemic

KyForward staff Deaths from suicide, alcohol, and drugs have reached an all-time high, but affect states in different ways, according to the Commonwealth Fund’s just released 2019 Scorecard on State Health System Performance. “What we’re seeing is a regional epidemic when it comes to premature deaths from suicide, alcohol, and drugs,” said Dr. David Blumenthal, Commonwealth Fund President....

Operation UNITE uses comprehensive approach to keep Appalachian kids off drugs

From Kentucky Health News Preventing kids from falling into addiction is a major goal for Operation UNITE, a nonprofit serving 32 counties in Eastern Kentucky — a region where the average age for first drug use is 11, Laura Ungar reports for the Louisville Courier Journal. “Experts say UNITE’s approach — encompassing families, schools, and communities — is supported by research and...

Kentucky physicians launch campaign to encourage patients to ‘Know Your Meds’ — keep them safe

By Nancy Swikert, M.D. Special to KyForward   Tremendous advancements in science and medicine have revolutionized the treatment of conditions and diseases that were once unmanageable. Prescription medicines have become an essential lifeline for many Kentuckians, helping them to better treat their pain, seizures, mental illnesses and other serious ailments.   When patients adhere to the treatments...

People in rural Appalachia more likely to die early, mainly due to greater drug overdose rates

“People in rural areas of Appalachia are more likely to die early deaths than in other parts of the country,” and a big reason is that they “die from drug overdoses at greater rates than the rest of the country,” writes Kery Murakami, the Washington, D.C., reporter for Community Newspaper Holdings Inc.’s CNHI News Service. Murakami notes that in Leslie County, Kentucky,...

Rep. Mike Denham: Bills tackling dating violence, drugs, voting, more making progress

FRANKFORT – With an eye on the dwindling days left in this year’s legislative session, the Kentucky House moved virtually all of its top priorities a step forward last week and should have most sent to the Senate by early this week.   Among that group of bills is our chamber’s proposal to tackle Kentucky’s heroin epidemic, which has sky-rocketed in recent years. In short, House Bill 213...

Commentary: Prescription drug abuse can be stopped by family, legislators, manufacturers

By Steve Pasierb Special to KyForward   We get the calls every day. Parents, siblings, grandparents and friends are reaching out to our organization worried that their loved one is abusing prescription medicine.   Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic and is skyrocketing among our nation’s teens. Kids are popping pills at an alarming rate. In fact, prescription medications are now the...