Fatal Drug Overdoses High in Kentucky

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Fatal Drug Overdoses High in Kentucky

Kentucky ranks high among states for recent efforts to curb the scourge of drug abuse, but the commonwealth has the third-highest rate of fatal overdoses. A report by the Trust for America’s Health supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said drug overdose deaths quadrupled in Kentucky since 1999, rising from 4.9 per 100,000 to 23.6 per 100,000 in 2010, higher than all states but West Virginia and New Mexico. Rates also quadrupled in Indiana, rising from 3.2 per 100,000 in 1999 to 14.4 per 100,000 in 2010, ranking it 17th in the nation.

Kentucky was one of three states to achieve a ranking of nine, on a scale of zero to 10, for their anti-pill-abuse policies. Researchers considered issues such as monitoring, prescriber education and doctor-shopping laws. The other states with a nine ranking were Massachusetts, New York and Washington, with only New Mexico and Vermont achieving a 10. Indiana received a five. To compare states for the report, researchers collected data from a number of sources, including the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws, the National Conference of State Legislators, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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