Eastern Ky. drug epidemic has reshaped communities

HARLAN, Ky. (AP) - Kateena Haynes has seen how prescription drug abuse has reshaped Eastern Kentucky.

The director of the Harlan County Boys and Girls Club told The Lexington Herald-Leader that two winters ago, the parents of 13 children in her after-school club died of drug overdoses in one six-week stretch. In eleven of those cases, the children saw a parent die.

And the drug abuse hurts the communities in many other ways as well.

In 2010, inpatient and emergency room charges related to drug overdoses totaled $78 million, much of it paid by taxpayers.

This fiscal year, the state budgeted $35.5 million for substance-abuse treatment.

Officials say drug abuse is behind many domestic violence and child abuse cases. And it plays a role in why most people end up behind bars.

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