A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Eli Capilouto: Kentucky can stem the tide of opioid abuse and addiction — and UK will help

Kentucky families know better than most the plague of addiction. Kentucky ranks third in the United States in overdose deaths, and families residing in Kentucky’s rural communities are disproportionately impacted by the opioid crisis. But there is hope. There is us. We know that Kentucky can stem this devastating tide. At the University of Kentucky, our faculty and clinicians are doggedly determined...

Lexington gets $2 million federal grant to fight opioid abuse; to be used for naloxone kits

Lexington has funds for additional weapons to use in the war on opioid abuse thanks to a $2 million federal grant. “This is a public health emergency and we’ve worked hard to put programs in place that our citizens need,” Mayor Jim Gray said. “This grant will help us build on those programs.” The grant, which stretches over four years, will largely be used for naloxone kits to be distributed...

Pew Trusts: Overdose deaths have declined in 14 states; Kentucky records a 14 percent increase

By Christine Vestal Special to KyForward New provisional data released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that drug overdose deaths declined in 14 states during the 12-month period that ended July 2017, a potentially hopeful sign that policies aimed at curbing the death toll may be working. In an opioid epidemic that began in the late 1990s, drug deaths have been climbing...

Mitch McConnell: Bipartisan budget a step forward in combating opioid crisis, but more must be done

On an average day, 175 Americans die from drug overdoses. Families in Kentucky and throughout the nation are bravely confronting substance abuse – including heroin, prescription drugs, and an alarming resurgence of methamphetamine – and law enforcement is working hard to help. With our communities in crisis, I remain committed to finding comprehensive solutions to end this suffering through coordinated...

Kentucky’s opioid crisis focus of Sept. 25 meeting of Howard Bost Health Policy Forum

Author and journalist Sam Quinones, whose book Dreamland chronicles the rise of prescription opioid abuse and subsequent heroin addiction across suburban and rural America, will keynote the Howard L. Bost Health Policy Forum on Sept 25 in Lexington. The title of the 15th annual forum, underwritten by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky with support from Gilead Sciences, Inc., is “Kentucky’s...

52 Weeks of Public Health Campaign emphasizing importance of opioid overdose treatment

As part of the 52 Weeks of Public Health campaign, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), is emphasizing the importance of naloxone education and services for communities to address the impact of opioid abuse. Public health officials say the program is particularly timely following a recent report of a death in Louisville linked to...

Keven Moore: It may be hard to believe, but even a simple back injury can eventually result in death

Can a back injury kill you? Unfortunately, it can. Let me tell you a story about my dear friend Dan who died from a simple back injury on Feb. 10, 1996. Dan and I first met working at McDonald’s when we were both teenagers. We later lived together, dated the same women, got in fist-fights over women, deer hunted, rode motorcycles, played pickup basketball at 3 a.m. on the UK blue courts, delivered...

Rural Blog: Emergency room patients of doctors more likely to use opioids on long-term basis

Emergency room patients of doctors who are the biggest prescribers of opioids are 30 percent more likely to become long-term opioid users, says a study by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Long-term users are defined as receiving six months’ worth of pills in the 12 months following the initial encounter. ER...

Keven Moore: Drug overdoses, Narcan use and liabilities for public school districts

Just a few days ago, we heard the news about a Garrard County special education teacher who was accused of overdosing on heroin in his car on his way to work. He was charged with DUI. Luckily a Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement officer was the first to respond to the call and found the unconscious teacher in his vehicle, where Narcan was used to revive him. It’s a sad day when the words “heroin”...

Forum on opioid abuse hears of need for more treatment services, community education

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News After a day of learning and talking about opioid prevention, treatment and mobilization, people at a forum in Corbin agreed on three things: Access to substance abuse and mental health services remains a huge barrier in southeastern Kentucky; more community education is needed; and drug-prevention programs should form coalitions to better use their limited resources. Substance...

Prescription drug addiction results in enormous cost to employers, not just individuals affected

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News With nearly one of three opioid prescriptions being abused, employers are not only subsidizing the cost of these drugs, they are also paying for the fallout that results from the abuse, according to a new study. “The personal impact that opioid painkiller abuse takes on individuals, their friends, and family is absolutely tragic,” Kristin Torres Mowat,...

Commentary: Leading Kentucky’s fight against drug addiction through research, public policy, health care

By Eli Capilouto Special to KyForward In 2014, more people died from drug overdoses than at any point in our history. Overdose deaths are up in every demographic category. Driving this public health epidemic is the availability and prevalence of opioids. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “overdose deaths from opioids, including prescription opioids and heroin have nearly...