4:13pm

Thu July 31, 2014
Health and Welfare

Overdose Numbers Frustrate State Drug Czar

Credit medicalxpress.com

A new report out Thursday says drug overdose deaths remained virtually the same in Kentucky over the last couple of years. 

A study by the Office of Drug Control Policy shows 1,007 people died in Kentucky from drug overdose in 2013, compared to 1,004 people in 2012.

Van Ingram, Director of the Office of Drug Control Policy, calls the report “frustrating.”

"While we've made some in-roads in prescription drug deaths, increases in heroin deaths kind of evened us out and plateaued and deaths remained largely the same," said Ingram.

Ingram says there must be a re-doubling of public education efforts on the dangers of heroin use.  He says that's not always the fastest approach, but it is typically the most effective.

While the youngest overdose in 2013 involved an 18 year old, Ingram says teenagers remain a key group to reach.  "Last year, I think the youngest was 13.  So, those teenage years is when you start to see it.  But, I wouldn't read too much into that," added Ingram.

Ingram says the expansion of Naloxone remains an important tool to help curb heroin overdoses.  It can be administered to help reverse the dangerous and sometimes fatal effects of heroin.  Ingram says he's confident state lawmakers will back Naloxone related legislation in 2015.