Opioid Addiction in Lexington
Lexington is the second largest city in the state of Kentucky and is located in Fayette County. In 2016, the number of overdose deaths in Kentucky hit a new high because of rising heroin and fentanyl abuse. The state recorded 1,404 deaths in 2016, up from 1,248 in 2015. Almost every community in Kentucky has experienced a fatal overdose. Fentanyl was involved in 47 percent of the overdose deaths, either alone or in combination with heroin. Fayette County had the second-highest number of overdose deaths in 2016 with 162, up from 141 in 2015.
In 2015, all first responders in Kentucky began carrying Naloxone, a drug that blocks or reverses the effects of an overdose of opioid drugs such as heroin. Drug dealers have been mixing fentanyl with heroin to increase their supply or press it into pill form. That means people who think they are taking heroin or some kind of prescription painkiller like Oxycodone are actually getting a much stronger dose than anticipated, raising their chances of a fatal overdose. Because fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more powerful than heroin, it can be lethal at low levels.
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Treating Addiction in Lexington
In 2017, the Kentucky governor offered a set of solutions to end the opioid epidemic across the state. Governor Matt Bevin signed into law a new measure that limits Opioid painkiller prescriptions to just a three-day supply, rather than the weeks’ worth of pills patients had previously had access to. Bevin also recommended a nationwide program similar to Kentucky’s prescription drug monitoring program KASPER, so that states can communicate about drug use across state lines. He mentioned a Kentucky program that has shown success in curbing hospital costs from babies who are born addicted to opioids. Thus far, the program has been able to reduce the average days spent in the neonatal intensive care unit and the costs associated with it, down from 30 to 5.
It’s no secret that Kentucky and many states across the nation fall short of the number of beds needed to treat people with opioid-use disorders. There is a Medicaid rule that prevents using federal dollars for addiction treatment facilities with more than 16 beds. Federal officials have already granted waivers to four states, and Kentucky is seeking the same. The governor expressed his disdain for this rule and asked, “why does it exist?”
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If you or a loved one are fighting addiction or alcoholism in Lexington, Kentucky, you don’t have to do it alone. There are treatment facilities in the Lexington area and around the country that can help patients overcome their struggles with substance abuse. Contact a treatment provider now to find out about available options.