Hospitalizations and deaths due to heroin overdoses are on the rise in Kentucky.
to the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, the number of
Kentuckians hospitalized for heroin overdoses more than doubled from
2011 to 2012. In addition, deaths from heroin overdoses among Kentucky
residents have skyrocketed from 12 in 2008 to 215 in 2013. Kentucky also
has some of the highest rates of drug overdoses and acute hepatitis C
infection in the nation.
This year, the General Assembly enacted
and Gov. Beshear signed into law permissive legislation that enables
local jurisdictions to establish needle exchange programs (NEP), also
known as “harm reduction programs.” To some, a needle exchange may sound
like a program that helps intravenous drug users feed their habit. To
the contrary, the intent of an NEP is to protect public health and
create a path for heroin users to get treatment while preventing the
spread of diseases through the sharing of needles.
Labels: heroin epidemic, IVDU, Kentucky, needle exchange