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In 2020, Kentucky had the third highest age-adjusted drug overdose fatality rate in the United States, at 49.3 deaths per 100,000 people. Only West Virginia and the District of Columbia had higher fatality rates for that year (82 and 57.9 deaths per 100,000 people, respectively). The total age-adjusted drug overdose fatality rate for the U.S. was 28.3 in 2020. Opioids continue to be involved in a large proportion of overdoses: Approximately 81% of Kentucky resident overdose deaths in 2020 involved opioids. Additionally, the proportion of Kentucky resident overdose deaths involving fentanyl has increased from 29% in 2016 to 69% in 2020. Poisoning remains the leading cause of injury-related mortality for Kentucky residents aged 24-64 from 2016-2020. For data requests, click here. To view the drug overdose county profiles, click here.

Drug Overdose PreventionPrograms

This initiative leverages prescription drug monitoring data through linkage with electronic health records and public heath surveillance data to develop prescriber- and patient-targeted interventions, thereby addressing both supply and demand in the context of opioid overuse and misuse.


Svetla Slavova, PhD, Principal Investigator Douglas Oyler, PharmD, Co-Principal Investigator

The project aims to: 1) analyze gabapentin prescribing in Kentucky since July 1, 2017, when gabapentin became a Schedule V controlled substance; 2) evaluate the effect of Kentucky’s 2017 SB32, which amended KRS 218A.202 to require the Administrative Office of the Courts to forward drug conviction data to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services for inclusion in KASPER (Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting); and 3) develop continuing education for use of drug…

Recovery housing, commonly referred to as sober living homes, recovery homes, or recovery residencies, are safe, healthy, family-like substance-free living environments that support individuals in recovery from substance use disorders, commonly referred to as addiction. At present, little is known about recovery housing in the state of Kentucky.

P1: Surveys of Clinical and Pharmacy Practice Involving Abuse-Deterrent Formulations

Lead: Patricia Freeman, RPh, PhD, FAPhA, FNAP, University of Kentucky (project years 1, 2, and 3)

The Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, as a bona fide agent for the Kentucky Department for Public Health, will collaborate with state, university, and community partners to implement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Overdose to Action (OD2A) surveillance strategies, including timely analysis of drug overdose emergency department encounters, fatal drug overdoses using multiple data sources, and an innovative public health surveillance strategy using remnant serum…

The Rural Center of Excellence supports evidence-based, evidence-informed, and promising practice-based programs and interventions to prevent and treat substance use disorders in rural communities in the context of recovery housing.

Drug Overdose PreventionRecent Reports

This report is based on data from possession and trafficking citations, drug overdose-related deaths, emergency department visits, hospitalizations, submissions to the state police lab, and general drug overdose-related events on six major substances in Kentucky from January 1, 2017– June 30, 2022.

An overview of some of the more common harm reduction programs as well as some of the terms used for these programs.

This report is an overview of drug overdose-related public health and public safety events in Kentucky from 2017-2021.

A quarterly newsletter highlighting efforts that use data to reduce the burden of drug use and overdoses in Kentucky.

A quarterly newsletter highlighting efforts that use data to reduce the burden of drug use and overdoses in Kentucky.