Kentucky has a rich cultural heritage that is part southern, part Appalachian, and mostly something all to itself. Known for its Louisville Slugger baseball bats, college basketball and the famous Kentucky Derby horse race, the state is proud of its distinctive and original culture.

While the state sets itself apart in several ways, Kentucky has been troubled by some alarming drug use statistics in recent years. Just like many other southern and rural states, the construction of meth labs is expanding at an explosive rate. Law enforcement can hardly seem to keep up with the number of labs that need to be torn down.

Despite this, Kentucky still manages to have a lower rate of drug abuse than the national average, as only 7.01 percent of residents have used drugs in the past month, as compared to 8.82 percent of the general population of the United States.

The Kentucky Drug Problem

The following is an overview of the Kentucky drug problem:

  • Kentucky is now in the top ten of states in terms of prescription painkiller abuse among 12 to 17-year-olds. This rise mirrors the overall rise of abuse of these prescription drugs in the state.
  • 1,747 meth labs were seized by law enforcement in 2011. This is a 296 percent increase over the 441 meth labs seized in 2008. The number of labs destroyed has almost quadrupled in these few short years.
  • 786 people died as a direct result of drug use in Kentucky in 2009. This is a rate of 18.2 people per 100,000 population in the state, far higher than the national average of 12.8 people per 100,000.
  • 3 Kentucky counties rank in the top ten of all counties in the US for the number of drug poisoning deaths. In Bell County, 47.9 people per 100,000 died as a direct result of their drug use.

What Drugs are Being Used in Kentucky

The following are the most widely abused drugs in Kentucky:

  • Cocaine and crack have continued to drop in terms of how many residents of Kentucky are being admitted to treatment for the drug. This mirrors the fall of these drugs in states across the country.
  • Marijuana is likewise falling, and it now accounts for only 20 percent of all admissions for drug treatment.
  • Meth and heroin use have both been slowly climbing, and each now claim almost 10 percent of all drug treatment admissions.
  • By far the fastest climber, prescription painkillers are skyrocketing in amounts of abuse and the number of people being admitted for treatment of the drug, which now sits at about 48 percent of all admissions.

Heroin Becoming Statewide Epidemic in Kansas

According to a recent study of the heroin problem in northern Kentucky, it will cost roughly $16 million dollars in a period of four years to reduce use. The study conducted by the Northern Kentucky Heroin Impact and Response Workgroup states the problems and challenges the state to engage the program with implementation of support, educational practices, and prevention tips. Strategies are outlined to reduce the demand for heroin and to help curb the supply in the area. There are few outlets to be able to help those addicted in the state to the deadly addictive drug. Compared to the national average, three times the number of high school seniors in Kentucky have tried heroin. Also, overdoses of the drug at St. Elizabeth HealthCare hospitals increased by 77% in 2012 from the previous year.

The heroin epidemic has been put into perspective as of late and without proper assertion in addressing it, it could turn into a statewide issue. The already addictive drug has become prominent in the state and ways to combat the upsurge have been less accessible. Heroin has been a debilitating drug that can paralyze communities with its highly addictive qualities. Finding a way to subside the up rise is imperative with not only heroin but all other drug threats to the state.

Resources & Sources for Kentucky Drug Treatment  Kentucky Drug Control Update – The Heroin Epidemic –