Drug overdose deaths decline in Kentucky for the first time in 4 years

For the first year since 2018, drug overdoses in Kentucky have declined.

According to the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC), 2,127 Kentuckians died from a drug overdose in 2022 compared with 2,257 in 2021.

In a press release, Gov. Beshear noted, “While we find hope in the decline in drug overdose deaths, this remains a public health crisis that we must continue to work together to address. We have done a lot of work to help Kentuckians fight addiction, but there is more to do and more lives to save. And I promise to be there every step of the way.”

Treatment experts at Addiction Recovery Care (ARC) echoed these sentiments.

“We saw a major jump in overdoses during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s encouraging to see the numbers start to trend downward. We are fortunate to have public officials in our state who understand the importance of getting people into treatment and on the road to recovery,” said Vanessa Keeton, ARC’s Vice President of Marketing. “But, we cannot lose sight of the fact that behind these statistics are real people. 2,127 Kentuckians still lost their lives to drug overdoses last year, which is far too many. These people were mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, coworkers and friends.”

Overdose deaths in 2022 were still higher than pre-pandemic levels. And earlier this month, the Biden administration designated fentanyl combined with xylazine as an emerging threat in the U.S.

“Substance use has always been dangerous but in recent years has become even more life-threatening. Mixing drugs can be a death sentence. It’s important that we not only educate community members on overdose prevention but that we continue to spread the word that treatment is available and recovery is possible,” said Matt Brown, ARC’s Chief Administration Officer.

For resources on overdose prevention and response, please visit arccenters.com/family-and-friends/overdose-prevention/.