A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Rural Blog: Meth from Mexican cartels increasing in Appalachia, fed partly by move to cut opioid access

Central Appalachia has been long known as a hotbed of opioid addiction, but, aided by a Mexican drug cartel, methamphetamine abuse has been surging in the area for the past few years, presaging a nationwide increase in abuse of a more powerful form of the drug. Crystal methamphetamine (DEA photo) “The region where Kentucky meets Ohio and West Virginia has served as a harbinger of national drug...

A historic grant: UK gets four-year $87 million grant to lead HEALing Communities project on opioids

By Kristi Willett University of Kentucky In the largest grant ever awarded to the University of Kentucky, researchers from UK’s Center on Drug and Alcohol Research (CDAR) and across campus — in partnership with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet (JPSC) — will lead a project as part of the HEALing Communities study. The four-year,...

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...

DPH commissioner to discuss strategies to address opioid epidemic at national conference

Dr. Jeffrey D. Howard, Acting Commissioner at the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), will represent the state during a national Opioid Policy session this weekend. Organized by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), The Opioid Policy Fellows roundtable will discuss opioid addiction and overdose issues. The session runs January 26-28 in New Orleans, Louisiana. “This event...

New program will allow Kentuckians to safely dispose of unused prescription opioids at home

Attorney General Andy Beshear is taking an innovative step in the fight against what he believes is the single greatest threat to Kentucky – the state’s drug epidemic. On Tuesday, Beshear launched the Kentucky Opioid Disposal Program, the state’s first initiative to allow Kentuckians to safely dispose of opioid medications at home. The program involves the drug deactivation pouch, Deterra, which...

Bevin announces new public awareness campaign, website aimed at fight against opioid addiction

Gov. Matt Bevin is urging all Kentuckians to help beat back the opioid epidemic with a new public awareness campaign that highlights the dangers of opioid abuse and offers information on drug treatment and naloxone. The campaign, launching this week, combines web content with statewide advertising to drive home a simple message: “Don’t Let Them Die.” The theme encourages Kentuckians to recognize...

Commentary: Lawmakers should use attorney general settlement funds to battle addiction, violence

By Andy Beshear Special to KyForward While state leaders may not always agree on how to solve an issue, we can all agree on the major issues staring us in the face. Properly funding state employees’ pensions seems to be the issue mentioned the most. Measures passed in 2013 and 2016 by the General Assembly have focused resources on addressing that issue, and a special session is planned for later...

Rural Blog: Focus moves to therapy, exercise after 270 percent surge in painkiller prescriptions to vets

Use of prescription painkillers among veterans increased 270 percent from 2001 to 2012, Jessica Lilly and Roxy Todd report for West Virginia Public Broadcasting as part of a series on opioids in Appalachia. About 24 percent of all veterans live in rural areas. In West Virginia, which leads the nation in opioid use, VA clinics were known for prescribing painkillers for chronic pain, reports WVPB. For...

Our Lady of Peace opens first retail pharmacist-operated injection clinic to treat opioid abuse

Kentucky is again leading the nation in finding ways to combat the opioid epidemic, as Louisville’s Our Lady of Peace has become the nation’s first behavioral health care center to open a retail pharmacist-operated, long-acting injection clinic, Joe Sonka reports for Insider Louisville. Pharmacists at the clinic will provide monthly shots of long-acting medications to help patients with...

Repealing ACA could hinder treatment for opioid addiction, epidemic in Appalachia, rural areas

From Rural Blog President Trump’s pledge to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could have dire effects on drug-treatment programs, especially in Appalachia and other rural areas plagued by the opioid epidemic, Christine Vestal reports for Stateline. An estimated 1.6 million previously uninsured addicts in the 31 states that expanded Medicaid gained coverage since 2014, including...

UK CDAR leads research investigating progressive therapies to treat opioid addiction

By Elizabeth Adams Special to KyForward Opioid addiction is a complex medical disorder that impacts the entire nation, but much of the problem is condensed to disparate regions of Kentucky. This is the third and final installment of a series of articles exploring the work of University of Kentucky researchers and UK HealthCare medical providers who are making progress toward solutions to the epidemic...

Federal drug rules eased to increase access to most common treatment against opioid addiction

By Danielle Ray and Al Cross Kentucky Health News Federal drug rules will soon loosen so that doctors can accommodate nearly triple the number of patients they can treat with the most common drug used to fight opioid addiction. Under the regulation, which takes effect Aug. 5, doctors who are authorized to prescribe buprenorphine, commonly sold under the brand name Suboxone, can go from having a maximum...