REPORT: Fentanyl partly to blame for 11 percent increase in Ky. overdose deaths
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A new report issued by the state of Kentucky shows that 2017 saw a higher-than 11 percent increase in overdose deaths, and the report blames one drug in particular: fentanyl.
A new report issued by the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy says fatal overdoses in 2017 totaled 1,565. Toxicology reports were available for 1,468 of those cases.
According to the report, fentanyl was a factor in 52 percent of the toxicology cases, totaling 763 deaths. That represents a 47 percent increase over fentanyl-related deaths in 2016.
Heroin played a significantly smaller role in overdoes deaths, with the drug accounting for 22 percent of overdose deaths in 2017, down from 34 percent in the previous year. According to the report, 327 people had heroin in their systems when they died in 2017.
At least three other drugs overtook heroin as a main cause of overdose deaths in 2017: alprazolam, gabapetin and methamphetamine.
"The gravity of today's report by KY ODCP underscores just how much is at stake in the ongoing battle against the nation's opioid epidemic," Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin said in a statement. "This is a fight we must win for the sake of our families, our communities, and the Commonwealth as a whole. We will continue to leverage every available resource to close off the funnel of addiction and to help our fellow Kentuckians who are struggling against this scourge."
Jefferson County had the most overdose deaths and the largest year-to-year increase of any county, with a total of 426 people dying there in 2017, an increase from 364 in 2016.
The 2017 Overdose Fatality Report compiled data from the Kentucky Medical Examiner's Office, the Kentucky Injury Prevention & Research Center and the Kentucky Office of Vital Statistics.
A copy of the report may be viewed below:
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