Kentucky ranks third in drug overdose deaths

(FOX19) - A new report is gives some chilling statistics about drug overdose deaths in the Tri-State.

Kentucky is ranked third in the country for drug overdose deaths. The number of drug fatalities have quadrupled from 1999 to 2010.

Ohio is ranked #12 in the report with drug deaths tripling over a ten year period. Indiana is ranked #17, and their numbers also quadrupled since 1999.

The report is based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says the majority of drug deaths recorded are from prescription drug abuse.

"We've had a tremendous surge of drug cases and drug crimes, especially with Heroin," said Kenton County Chief Regional Circuit Judge Gregory Bartlett.

The number of deaths due to drug overdoses in Northern Kentucky counties from 2011 to 2012:

  • 109 deaths in Kenton County
  • 79 deaths in Campbell County
  • 48 deaths in Boone County

Judge Bartlett says he sees a lot of cases where prescription drugs are being abused.

"It's amazing how many times the people that are now using heroin switch from pills," said Judge Bartlett.

The Brighton Center of Northern Kentucky is just one of the organizations trying to combat the drug problem.

"Here it is about changing everything, their friends, sometimes their family members for awhile, but it's about changing their life," said Michelle Westerkamp, Program Director at the Brighton Center's Women's Center.

Westerkamp says 98 percent of the women treated at the Brighton Recovery Center for Women have a drug addiction.

"Some women start on prescription drugs and move on to heroin," said Westerkamp. "I know a lot of rural communities in Kentucky there are a lot of prescription drugs."

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