Kentucky Addiction Treatment and Info

Substance abuse and addiction are common themes across the United States and Kentucky has not been spared. In fact, it is ranked among the leading 10 states in terms of the overdose deaths involving opioids.

Addiction in Kentucky

This goes to show that the opioid crisis affecting the entire nation has affected Kentucky in various ways. It is for this reason that the state has been ranked among the leading 10 for high numbers of opioid drug overdose fatalities. This is according to research from NIDA - the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Most of these deaths are linked to prescription opioid pain relief medications such as Vicodin and OxyContin, as well as fentanyl and heroin. However, these are not the only substances of abuse in the state. This is because residents also abuse drugs like prescription stimulant medications, methamphetamine, cocaine, benzodiazepines, and alcohol.

From 2001 to 2014, the number of deaths involving drug overdose more than quadrupled in this state. By 2016, these fatalities had reached an all-time high with more than 24 lives lost among every segment of 100,000 residents.

Since 2012, also, the rates of death involving heroin more than doubled while overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl more than quadrupled. Further, the Office of Drug Control Policy - the ODCP - for Kentucky reported in 2016 that:

  • 16 percent of the deaths involved hydrocodone (Norco and Vicodin)
  • Fentanyl by itself as well as mixed with heroin was responsible for 47 percent of these deaths
  • More than 34 percent of all overdose fatalities were linked to heroin
  • Morphine contributed to more than 45 percent of all overdose fatalities in
  • Oxycodone (including Percocet and OxyContin) was detected in 19 percent of these incidents
  • People between the ages of 35 and 44 reported the highest rates of drug overdose deaths
  • Xanax (Alprazolam) was responsible for 26 percent of the overdose deaths reported in the state

As is clear from these reports, prescription medications have been responsible for most of the overdose deaths in Kentucky. This problem has been spearheaded by the growing number of prescriptions written by physicians, the growing supply of these medications, high rates of unemployment and poverty, as well as pill mills.

In 2016, almost all Kentucky counties reported a drug overdose situation that turned out to be fatal. However, there are some counties that reported higher rates of overdose deaths, including Bell, Campbell, Gallatin, Leslie, and Powell counties. Heroin and fentanyl, on the other hand, led to higher numbers of deaths in Boone, Campbell, Fayette, Jefferson, and Kenton counties.

Addiction Treatment in Kentucky

SAMHSA - the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - released a report in 2010 showing that a total of 25428 checked into an addiction treatment and rehabilitation center in this state. Of this number, 33 percent were female while the remaining 67 percent were male.

Opioids apart from heroin, on the other hand, were linked to 28 percent of all these admissions. They were closely followed by alcohol at 18.8 percent and marijuana at 16.7 percent.

Almost 50 percent of the drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers in Kentucky also provide dual diagnosis treatment for addicts struggling with other co-occurring mental health and medical disorders. However, only about 14 percent of these centers also provide medical detox services.

Commonly Abused Substances in Kentucky

But which are the most problematic substances of abuse in the state? Consider the following information:


The rates of alcohol abuse in the past year in this state have generally tended to be below - or at least par - with similar rates at the national level. This has also been the case with the rates of unmet need for substance abuse treatment services for alcoholism among people above the age of 12. Further, this rate is considered to be among the lowest across the United States for people between the ages of 18 and 25 years.

That said, a total of 4159 people enrolled in an addiction treatment center in 2010 for abusing alcohol. Another 3257 people received similar recovery services for abusing alcohol with another secondary intoxicating substance.

Prescription Drugs

As mentioned above, there are some counties in the state that lead the rest of the nation in terms of the number of prescription medications that are issued versus the population of Kentucky.

In 2010, opioids apart from heroin were responsible for 6249 of all the admissions in addiction treatment and rehabilitation centers in the state. Over the years, oxycodone and hydrocodone continue being the most popular of these prescriptions medications.


This substance is widely available in the state. For some years now, the purity and price of cocaine has been relatively stable. By 2010, it was responsible for 1178 admissions into drug rehabs in Kentucky. Of this number, 52 percent were female while 48 percent were male.


This drug is not quite as popular in Kentucky as it is in other states. This could be, in part at least, due to the fact that heroin supplies are quite limited. In 2010, however, 1062 people checked into a recovery center for abusing heroin.


Studies show that cannabis is among the most significant of all substance threats in the States. This is to such an extent that it has been classified among other 5 states as forming the American Marijuana Belt according to the ONDCP - the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

In 2010, a total of 3695 people received addiction treatment and rehabilitation services for abusing marijuana and developing dependence on it. Of this number, 38 percent were female while the remaining 62 percent were male.


Both crystal meth and methamphetamine continue posing serious problems across the state - but more so in its rural regions. In 2010, Kentucky reported one of the highest numbers of meth labs seized by the DEA - the Drug Enforcement Administration. The same year, the drug was linked to 1027 admissions in addiction recovery centers in the state.

Drug Related Fatalities and Injuries in Kentucky

More than 25 percent of all the drug offenses that were federally sentenced in Kentucky in 2006 were linked to methamphetamine and crystal meth. The following year, the state had a total of 48 drug courts.

In 2006 also, the ONDCP reported that it made a total of 56376 arrests linked to violations of drug law in the state. The same year, 1351 motor car accidents were related to drug and alcohol abuse. Of this number, 200 turned out to be fatal.

The state also has some of the highest rates of juvenile meth abuse. According to State Police, the use of cocaine has also been quite as high although meth is more commonly abused among teens and adults alike. This is because this drug is often more widely available at lower costs.

Addiction Prevention in Kentucky

The state passed a law in 2012 compelling all licensed pharmacists and doctors to track every narcotic prescription through the state database. The goal of this move was to reduce the rates of doctor shopping because many people in Kentucky have been visiting more than one doctor complaining of similar or related pain conditions to get more prescriptions.

The state also has a Good Samaritan law in place. Through this piece of legislation, anyone who reports a drug overdose - even one involving illicit substances of abuse - is protected from prosecution.

Further, there is a naloxone registry that works over the internet in Kentucky. Formed in 2016, it is an essential resource of people who abuse opioids - as well as their families and friends - to locate pharmacies where they can procure naloxone. The drug is useful at reversing most of the adverse effects of an opioid overdose.

In the same way, Kentucky passed the Matthew Casey Act. Through this act, it is possible for loved ones to get an addict committed into an addiction treatment and rehabilitation center until they overcome their condition. Although the step might seem extreme, various research studies have reported that recovery services do not have to be provided voluntarily for them to work.

Addiction Treatment in Kentucky

If you are already struggling with a substance use disorder, it is recommended that you check into a professional addiction treatment program so that you can get the help that you need to overcome this problem.

Some of the services that could be provided to ensure that you achieve complete sobriety include:

i) Medical Detoxification

Detox is often offered as the first line of treatment in most cases of addiction. Through this service, you will be placed under round the clock medical care and supervision as you get started on the road to recovery.

It is essential because it can identify all withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings, as well as track their progress. In the process, the detox center will help you manage these cravings and symptoms so that you do not relapse.

Detox is one of the essential components of addiction recovery. This is because most people who attempt to overcome their addictions end up relapsing and going back to their old substance using habits in a bit to stop the withdrawal symptoms.

ii) Inpatient Drug Rehab

After detox, the treatment center might suggest that you go through inpatient drug rehab. This means that you will be living at the center over the entire course of your rehabilitation. During this time, you will receive a wide variety of therapy options to ensure that you overcome your psychological dependence on the substances that you used to abuse.

Inpatient drug rehab is also recommended if you have a severe substance use disorder - particularly one that has been ongoing for some time. It might also be the right way to recover if you have been diagnosed with other co-occurring medical and mental health disorders over and above your addiction.

iii) Outpatient Drug Rehab

The other solution would be to seek help with your addiction on an outpatient basis. This effectively means that you will not be living at the recovery center. Instead, your treatment sessions will be scheduled to take place a couple of times each week for several months.

This type of treatment is recommended if your addiction is relatively mild and you do not display any signs of co-occurring disorders. It might also work if you have already been through an inpatient program but still need additional help post-recovery to ensure you do not relapse.

Wither you choose inpatient or outpatient treatment, the following are some of the services that you can expect to enjoy while overcoming your addiction:

  • 12-step support group meetings
  • Addiction education
  • Adventure programs
  • Aftercare programming
  • Alumni support
  • Couples counseling
  • Dual diagnosis addiction treatment
  • Equine-therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Group counseling
  • Holistic or complementary therapies, including meditation, yoga, Ayurvedic medicine, massage therapy, and mindfulness practices
  • Individual therapy
  • Luxury treatment
  • Medication management
  • Pet-therapy
  • Vocational training
  • Wilderness therapy

Getting Help

Irrespective of the nature, extent, or severity of your substance abuse and addiction, it is recommended that you seek help sooner rather than later. This should happen as soon as you realize that you have been abusing drugs in higher doses or more often than you should.

In the long term, continuing down the road to addiction will only cause you to keep on suffering in various areas of your life - including your health, wellness, finances, personal and professional relationships, productivity, employment and earning outcomes, and life.

Instead of this, a better option would be to get in touch with a professional addiction treatment and rehabilitation program. There are many such programs scattered all over Kentucky and in neighboring states and they can guide you to full recovery.


For more information about treatment centers in Kentucky, Click Here.

Cities with Drug Rehab Centers in Kentucky

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