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Report: Drug overdoses up 14.5% in Kentucky last year

A fentanyl test strip is used to detect fentanyl in a drug sample. Such test strips cost about $1 apiece.
Jesse Costa
/
WBUR
A fentanyl test strip is used to detect fentanyl in a drug sample. Such test strips cost about $1 apiece.

Drug overdoses continue to increase in Kentucky, according to the latest data.

2,250 Kentuckians died from drug overdoses in 2021, according to the latest state Drug Overdose Report. That’s a 14.5% increase over the prior year.

Officials pin the blame primarily on a rise in the use of a fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that accounted for 70% of the deaths in the report. Powerful and inexpensive meth is also helping to drive up the numbers.

Still, the rate of increase is lower than in 2020, when overdose deaths skyrocketed by nearly 50%.

The overdose report is released by the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet and the Office of Drug Control Policy.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.