Northern Kentucky counties led state in overdose deaths in 2017

FLORENCE, Ky. - As the Tri-State continues to look for ways to fight the opioid epidemic, there is new concern in Northern Kentucky.

New numbers from the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy show that Kenton and Campbell Counties led the state in  overdose deaths per capita in 2017.

Both counties, along with with Boone County, make the top five for heroin and fentanyl-related deaths.

READ the full report here.

“It really is very sobering to see that," said Dr. Lynn Saddler, NKY Health Director of Health.

Top five counties for overdose deaths, per capita:
1) Kenton County – 69.50
2) Campbell County – 66.00

3) Boyd County – 64.60
4) Mason County – 58.20
5) Jessamine County- 56.50

Top five counties for heroin-related overdose deaths:
1) Jefferson County – 135
2) Fayette County – 42
3) Campbell County – 18
4) Kenton County – 16
5) Boone County – 11

Top five counties for fentanyl-related deaths:
1) Jefferson County – 274
2) Fayette County – 112
3) Kenton County – 52
4) Campbell County – 41
5) Boone County – 29

Top five counties for deaths related to heroin and fentanyl in combination:
1) Jefferson County – 94
2) Fayette County – 33
3) Kenton County – 15
4) Campbell County – 13
5) Boone County – 8

Saddler is looking for solutions such as a mobile needle exchange program that started this week.

“This is an important touchpoint for us with this population to try prevent additional overdoses and overdose deaths," Saddler said.

Saddler's team is trying to look at the positives. For instance, the number of heroin-specific overdose deaths is down.

“Each year we add more to the strategies that we're doing in Northern Kentucky and even though the 2017 data can be very discouraging, we know the more we work at this the better it's going to get," Saddler said.

There is some good news: the Northern Kentucky Health department says just this year they've seen a decline in cases headed to the emergency room.  

SEE WCPO's special coverage: CONQUERING ADDICTION.

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