Pandemic Leads to Overdose Deaths Surge in Jefferson County

Addiction Recovery Care (ARC), a leading provider of addiction treatment and recovery services throughout Central and Eastern Kentucky, issued a statement today regarding the overdose fatality data recently released by Jefferson County.

According to the county coroner’s office, 514 overdose deaths occurred in 2021, with 85 cases still pending. While this number is a slight decrease from the 604 overdose deaths incurred in 2020, it is significantly higher than pre-pandemic figures. 379 overdose deaths were reported in 2019, and 323 were reported in 2018.

“The pandemic has been an extremely challenging time for people struggling with substance use. Isolation, stress and general anxieties about the state of the world have fanned the flames of an epidemic that found its way into our communities long before 2020,” said Pat Fogarty, ARC’s senior vice president of operations and a Louisville resident. “Addiction is not just a crisis in metro areas like Jefferson County; it’s everywhere, and no one is immune. At ARC, we are continuing our outreach efforts to ensure that Kentuckians are aware of the treatment and recovery resources available to them. Whether you’re a family member looking for more information or an individual with a substance use disorder who’s ready to get help, we’re here to navigate this process with you and get you or your loved one on the road to recovery.”

“Kentucky’s drug epidemic is no longer ‘those families’ or ‘that neighborhood’ but our own kids and parents and siblings,” added former US Attorney Russell Coleman. “With nuclear strength fentanyl oozing into all aspects of the supply chain and the increase in Mexican cartel-produced meth pouring into Louisville, we must respond to the growing threat with as much urgency in treatment as we do enforcement.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 930,000 people in the U.S. have died from drug overdoses from 1999 through 2020. The CDC estimates 100,000 more overdose deaths took place between May 2020 and May 2021, with Kentucky accounting for nearly 2,300 fatalities.