According to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kentucky ranked fourth in the nation for its rate of overdose deaths between April 2020 and April 2021.
The Herald-Leader reports, The widespread use of opioids, the more potent synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and methamphetamine have long dogged Kentucky, which hit its first fatal overdose peak in 2017. Notably, in 2018, the overall fatal overdose rate dropped 15% for the first time since 2013. But the social and economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic hit the states hard, and in 2020, the rate of people dying from drug use in Kentucky doubled, surpassing 2017.
“This is an epidemic that has ravaged our commonwealth for far too long,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a statement.
Now, as the pandemic exacerbated the pull of addiction for many, “people are still struggling to cope with job loss, isolation, and general widespread anxiety,” said Matt Brown, senior vice president of administration at Addiction Recovery Care.