Kentucky ranks second nationally in heroin overdose deaths
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Jan. 19, 2016) — Thirteen percent of Kentucky adults know someone who has experienced problems with heroin, up from 9 percent in 2013, according to a Kentucky Health Issues Poll.
Adults in Northern Kentucky are twice as likely to know someone with heroin problems. Of Northern Kentucky respondents, 35 percent reported knowing someone with heroin problems, compared to 17 percent in Louisville, 14 percent in Lexington, 10 percent in Eastern Kentucky and 8 percent in Western Kentucky.
Adults between 18 to 29 are most likely to know someone with heroin problems, with 25 percent knowing someone with problems with heroin, compared to 12 percent of adults 30-45, 10 percent 46-64 and 7 percent 65 and older.
Statewide, 25 percent reported having family members or friends who experienced problems as a result of abusing prescription pain relievers; this percentage has remained steady since 2013.
Younger, white, lower income adults are more likely to know someone with problems because of prescription drug misuse.
Eastern Kentucky had the highest percentage of adults (33 percent) who indicated family members or friends have experienced problems as a result of pain reliever abuse; western Kentucky had the lowest (16 percent).
“While 18-29 year olds were more than twice as likely to report knowing someone with problems due to heroin, the data suggest no differences based on sex, race, education, or income,” said Susan Zepeda, president/CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “KHIP also shows younger, white, and lower income adults are more likely to know someone with problems because of prescription drug misuse. This information can help Kentucky policymakers as they devise strategies to curb our state’s drug problems.”
Kentucky ranks second in the nation for drug overdose deaths, tied with New Mexico. West Virginia leads the nation. Drug overdose deaths in Kentucky have quadrupled from 241 in 2000 to 1,077 in 2014. Since, 2008 more Kentucky adults have died each year from drug overdoses than from motor vehicle accidents.
The poll was conducted Sept. 17 to Oct. 7, 2015 by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. A random sample of 1,608 adults from throughout Kentucky was interviewed by telephone, including landlines and cell phones. The poll has a margin of error of ±2.4 percent.