Last updated: July 30. 2013 4:30PM - 776 Views
By Ralph Davis

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FRANKFORT — After years of bad news concerning drug abuse, Floyd County finally received some good news with the release of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy’s “2012 Overdose Fatality Report.”

Floyd County had the largest drop in total overdose deaths, among all 120 Kentucky counties. Overdose deaths fell from 37 in 2011, to 14 in 2012.

Other counties with significant declines in 2012 were Clay (17 fewer), Knox (12 fewer), and Johnson (11 fewer).

Floyd County’s success in dropping its overdose death rate was accompanied by more good news. For the first time in a decade, the total number of overdose deaths across the state also dropped, but just barely. Total overdose deaths fell from 1,023 in 2011, to 1,004 in 2012.

Over the 1,004 overdose deaths, 888 were ruled unintentional, while 59 were considered suicides. There was no ruling for the remaining 57.

The news was not all good, however. The statistics also revealed an impending problem that officials have been warning about — a steep rise in heroin use. Overdose deaths resulting from heroin skyrocketed 550 percent, from 22 in 2011, to 143 in 2012. Heroin accounted for nearly 1-in-5 overdose deaths in 2012, compared to 1-in-31 in 2011.

Floyd County was also on the receiving end of some bad news in the report, when it tied for fourth in the rate of overdose deaths. Floyd County had a rate of 65 overdose deaths per 100,000 population in 2011 and 2012 combined, tied with Estill County. The only three counties with higher rates were Leslie (85), Clinton (78) and Clay (76).

Statewide, the average age of overdose victims was 40, with men outnumbering women 58 percent to 42 percent.

The most commonly detected drug in overdose deaths was alprazolam, which was present in 41.44 percent of all autopsied cases. Morphine was next at 32.01 percent, followed by hydrocodone at 25.99 percent, oxycodone at 24.21 percent, heroin at 19.56 percent, and oxymorphone at 17.51 percent.

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