KY health officials report 49% increase in drug overdose fatalities in 2020


FILE – This Friday, June 1, 2018, file photo, shows syringes of the opioid painkiller fentanyl in an inpatient pharmacy. A new report from the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy says 1,565 people died in the state from drug overdoses in 2017. That’s an 11.5 percent increase from 2016. More than half of the […]

FRANKFORT, KY (WOWK) — The 2020 Overdose Fatality Report shows more than 1,964 Kentuckians died from drug overdoses in 2020. That’s a 49% increase compared with the year prior. 

In the 2020 Overdose Fatality Report, Kentucky reported that residents between the ages of 35 and 44 were the largest demographic in overdose deaths, and they were followed closely by the age group of 25-34 and then age group 45-54. 

According to the Kentucky Office of the Medical Examiner and toxicology reports submitted by Kentucky coroners, the increase in the death toll was driven mostly by a rise in opioid abuse, particularly abuste of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs. These drugs were found in 1,393 cases, estimating around 71% of all overdose deaths for the year in Kentucky. 

“In addition to the stress caused by the pandemic, we believe the increase in overdose deaths for 2020 is due to a rise in illicit fentanyl and its analogs within the drug supply. The problem is also exacerbated by the widespread availability of potent, inexpensive methamphetamine,” said Van Ingram, Executive Director of ODCP. “ODCP is committed to changing the way substance abuse is handled in Kentucky, reducing the problem and making the commonwealth a model for other states.” 

(Source: Commonwealth of Kentucky
Justice & Public Safety Cabinet)

The national number of overdose deaths for 2020—more than 93,000—is the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in 12 months.

If you or someone you know is looking for help with addiction, please visit this link for more information and resources. 

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