LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The amount of overdose deaths in Jefferson County for 2017 are up from 2016.

According to the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office, there were 415 overdose deaths in 2017. The vast majority of those are heroin or fentanyl related, and seven of those could be re-classified based upon toxicology. There were 364 overdose deaths in Jefferson County in 2016, marking a 14 percent increase.

However, across the river in Clark County, overdose deaths are down by 30 percent. Clark County Health Officer Dr. Eric Yazel called the drop “multi-faceted,” from strong programs promoting education to not-so-traditional ways of attacking the problem like the needle exchange program. 

Total numbers for Indiana and Kentucky were not immediately available.

For those in recovery like Kenneth Higgs, it’s not surprising to hear that the deaths continue.

“It doesn't surprise me, because I know how long I was caught up in it,” Higgs said. “It's hopeless. It's a hopeless feeling to have to wake up every day and have something to just get started.”

Higgs has been clean since last March with the help of the The Healing Place.

“Finally, I got to be like, ‘There's got to be something better to life than this,'" Higgs said.

It’s not clear how many overdoses that did not result in death occurred in Jefferson County in 2017. 

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