Substance abuse is a countrywide problem, affecting individuals, families, and communities. Other than affecting an individual, addiction also has a negative impact on the community at large, contributing to increased crime, broken families, lost man-hours, and productivity, among others.

Unfortunately, Kentucky isn’t doing too well when it comes to substance abuse. Cases of addiction and drug overdose deaths have been on the rise across the state. This is a problem that cuts across all age groups with 6.0% or 20,000 youth aged 12-17 using marijuana, 10.7% drinking, and 6.5% of young people reporting using illicit drugs between 2017-2019.

Here’s an overview of the commonly abused drugs in Kentucky:

Drug Overdose Deaths in Kentucky

In the US, accidental drug overdose is a leading cause of death among those below 45 years. In recent years, the number of overdose deaths has increased at an annual rate of 4.0%. The situation isn’t any better in Kentucky with the state having the 7th highest overdose deaths nationally in 2019. By 2021 this had increased by 14.6% from 1964 deaths in 2020 to 2250 in 2021 according to a state annual report released in mid-2022.

During that time, Fentanyl was responsible for 73% of the deaths while methamphetamine was responsible for 48% of the overdose deaths in Kentucky. Other opioids responsible for overdose deaths include morphine, oxycodone, methadone, and hydrocodone.

Alcohol use

Data from the CDC shows that Kentucky ranks among the top 3 states in binge drinking, behind Arkansas and Mississippi. Another survey showed that 5.45% of Kentuckians struggled with alcohol use disorder in 2018-2019 with more than 20,000 DUI arrests being made during that period. Among people aged 12 and above in Kentucky, the annual average prevalence of past-year alcohol use disorder in 2017-2019 was 5.0%. This is according to data from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Marijuana use

Kentucky is one of the states in the marijuana belt and the use of this drug has increased in recent years from 10.8% prevalence in 2002-2004 to 14.6% prevalence in 2017-2019. This is partly fueled by the misconception that marijuana isn’t addictive or that it has fewer negative consequences than other drugs.

Other drugs commonly abused in Kentucky include cocaine, heroin, and hallucinogens.

Looking for Treatment?

If you’re struggling with alcohol or drug addiction in Kentucky, help is available. The Robert Alexander Center for Recovery is dedicated to making addiction treatment more affordable and available for all those who need it. We offer a range of drug and alcohol treatment programs including detox, intensive outpatient care, and outpatient programs. We also have a family therapy program for families that have been ruined by addiction

Don’t let addiction steal any more of your life. Contact us today and we’ll help you find lasting and sustainable recovery from substance abuse.

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