Clay Co. seeing decrease in drug overdoses

By: Katie Roach Email
By: Katie Roach Email

MANCHESTER, Ky (WYMT) - One eastern Kentucky county saw dramatic changes in the number of drug related deaths in just a one year period.

The Clay County coroner released a report that says drug overdoses were cut by more than half in the past year.

In 2011 Clay County Coroner Danny Finley says one person out of every thousand died of a drug overdose. He says that's about six times more than the national average.

"From the drug related death standpoint, we were at epidemic stage," said Finley.

Of the 103 cases he worked that year, he says half tested positive for narcotics.

But in one year, the numbers went way down. In 2011 there were 43 drug related deaths in Clay County, and in 2012 there were only 27.

The coroner also says the drug overdoses dropped from 22 to eight.

Finley and Clay County Sheriff Kevin Johnson say they attribute the decreasing numbers to the fact that doctors who over-prescribe are being targeted.

"It's not just getting the individual on the street corner who is pedaling, the easiest way to kill a snake is to cut its head off," said Johnson.

Finley says the numbers are encouraging. "Makes us feel like, finally, we are able to attack this problem in an effective manner."

But the sheriff says they still have a long way to go.

"We still got a battle, we are still fighting a battle, and we are going to continue doing so," said Johnson.

While most of the report is encouraging. It says in 2011 there were no deaths involving the drug fentanyl, but in 2012 there were five.


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