Knox County leads state in declining overdose deaths

Graphic by Charles Myrick
Graphic by Charles Myrick

For those Knox County residents who are fighting in the war against drug abuse, some much-needed good news has arrived from Frankfort. Last week, the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet released the results of a 2015 report on overdose deaths in the state. The report focused on the dangers of Fentanyl, which, according to the report, is “an extremely potent opioid that is leading to more overdose deaths, often because dealers mix it with heroin and sell the lethal blend to unwitting addicts.”

Of the 120 counties in the state, Knox County shined in one area; the largest decrease in overdose deaths.

The Knox County Health Coalition addressed the decline during the June 28 meeting.

“We would love to attribute the decline to education,” said Chairperson Tammy Sutton as the rest of the room agreed.

“Every time a group comes together, wither it’s this group, UNITE, Chamber, everybody is focused on the drug problem. When everybody starts pulling together and going after the same thing, that these are the results we see.”

Brendia Moses of KCEOC offered an insight on the new target for drug educators.

“Back in the day, the focus was mainly on teenagers,” said Moses. “Now, you bring in grandparents that are having to deal with this, you bring in little kids. It’s all age groups, it’s not just teenagers that are affected by this.”

The Coalition was pleased with the results of their dedication and hard work.

“That’s a great statistic to hear,” said Coalition member Danielle Barrett of the Knox County Extension Office.