Clark County health officials attribute drop in overdose deaths to education, treatment and Narcan
Preliminary results show overdose deaths have dropped by 30 percent last year in Clark County.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Preliminary results show overdose deaths have dropped by 30 percent last year in Clark County.
The Clark County Health Department is still waiting on final numbers, but officials said there were 60 overdose deaths in 2017 compared to 90 in 2016.
Clark County health officer Dr. Eric Yazel said that success is multifaceted, from strong programs promoting education and not so traditional ways of attacking the problem like the needle exchange program.
"Anybody who is using, it teaches them responsible ways and helps them provide an avenue for recovery as well," Yazel said.
He also credits the drop to Narcan, which reverses the effects of an overdose from opioids like heroin.
"We're getting to patients faster and delivering the narcan," Yazel said. "Narcan, typically, if you can get on board in time, you're going to have success. It works essentially every time."
Solving the drug epidemic has really been a collaborative effort, Yazel said, starting with police getting drugs off the streets to the health department getting narcan in the right hands and recovery centers helping people stay sober.
As the heroin problem might be on a small decline, though, another one might be on the rise. As an emergency room physician, Yazel said he's seeing a rise in meth and a small increase in cocaine use.
"I've seen more cases in the last month and a half or so than I saw in probably the last year combined," he said.
But as new problems are realized, the goal is to stay ahead of them.
"The numbers lately have been unprecedented," Yazel said. "So we don't know where it's going to go. But that's the challenge in the future. Instead of being complacent with some success, to identify what facets of our treatment are working and redouble our efforts in that area."
In the future, Clark County also plan to stay up-to-date on emerging trends to fight the drug epidemic.
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