Rise in Fentanyl leading to more fatal overdoses in Kentucky - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Rise in Fentanyl leading to more fatal overdoses in Kentucky

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LOUISVILLE, Ky, (WDRB) -- A new report shows a rise in Fentanyl is leading to more overdose deaths in Kentucky. 

Fentanyl, a painkiller, is considered more potent than heroin and morphine. 

"I couldn't really tell you what it felt like, because as soon as it entered me, I was out. I was knocked out cold," Mike, who asked us not to use his last name, said about the drug. 

Mike is now in recovery at The Healing Place, but says his addiction to opiates led to using Fentanyl in the past. 

"Last time I injected it, I was face down on my parents bathroom floor in the middle of the night," he said. "Big knot on my head. Just real pitiful." 

A new report from the state shows Fentanyl use is rising in Kentucky and so are the number of overdose deaths.

There were 1,071 fatal overdoses in 2014 and 1,248 last year. In 2014, Fentanyl played a factor in 121 cases. In 2015, that number was 420. 

"It's commonly mixed in as another drug into what people are buying on the streets, so they may think they're getting heroin. They're getting Fentanyl," said Louisville Metro Health and Wellness Director Dr. Joann Schulte. 

Officials say Fentanyl is being made illegally in the U.S. or imported from other countries. Dealers mix it into heroin to make their product more potent and to make more money. 

The deadly trend has continued into 2016. In March, Louisville Metro Health held a press conference about an alarming increase in overdoses in the city. 

"Based on what we saw earlier this year, I don't think those numbers are going to go down," Schulte said. 

The Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition says it's been warning addicts about the dangerous combination. The organization offered a free training on how to use Narcan on Tuesday. The drug reverses the effects of overdoses and saves lives. 

"We can't help anybody if they're dead, so we aren't enabling people to use, we're enabling people to live so they can get an opportunity to have treatment," said co-founder Russ Read. 

Jefferson County had the highest number of overdose deaths in the state with 268. 

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