FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – Drug overdose deaths in Kentucky are increasing despite a drop in opioid prescriptions and heroin use.
A new report from the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy says 1,565 people died from drug overdoses in 2017. That’s an 11.5 percent increase from 2016. Kentucky overdose deaths have increased by more than 40 percent since 2013.
Opioids are the main culprit in most deaths. Deaths attributed to heroin have declined. But more than half of the overdose deaths in 2017 were caused by fentanyl, a synthetic opioid. That’s up from 43 percent in 2016.
Methamphetamine contributed to 29 percent of all overdose deaths, a 57 percent increase from 2016. Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy Executive Director Van Ingram said drug dealers have been combining methamphetamine and fentanyl with deadly consequences.