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Overdose deaths rise, points to local problem

By: Elizabeth Dorsett Email
By: Elizabeth Dorsett Email

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT)-According to the Center for Disease Control, overdose deaths are on the rise for the 11th year in a row.

There were more than 38-thousand drug overdoses in 2010 according to the CDC report. That is the most recent data they've released.
Here in Fayette County, after a brief fall off in 2008, overdose deaths have steadily been on the rise. In 2007, there were 53 overdose deaths; in 2008 there were 29; in 2009, there were 44 overdose deaths; in 2010 there were 49; in 2011 there were 52 and 2012 saw 63 overdose deaths.

"It doesn't come as a surprise to my office because we've seen a significant number of drug overdoses in Fayette County and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn said, while seated in the conference room of his office.

While Ginn says this community is on par with national trends as far as overdose deaths, he does say Fayette county does not match up with the cause of death. While nationally it's prescription pills, in Lexington the problem is heroin.

"We have prescription drug pipelines that are closing up so we're starting to see heroin overdoses in significant numbers," Ginn explained.

Ginn showed our WKYT-TV crew between 7 and 8 ounces of Heroin and some paraphanalia found at a very recent suspected overdose death. Nationally, the CDC reports 60 percent of overdose deaths in 2010 were from painkillers, rather than illicit drugs.

But Ginn says as the next few years of data are published, we can all look for that to change.

"I'm sure if we're seeing it here, other states are seeing it as well."


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