Provisional drug overdose data shows hopeful trend in Ky. and the nation, with numbers dropping in each of last three months

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Preliminary data suggests that drug-overdose deaths are declining in Kentucky and the nation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s latest provisional overdose death data for the first six months of this year showed a 5.5% year-to-year increase in the number of predicted overdose deaths in the 12-month period ending June 2022, but the latest numbers are promising.

Predicted provisional counts represent estimates of the number of deaths, with adjustments for incomplete reporting that always occurs.

After reaching a high of 110,202 estimated U.S. overdose deaths in the 12 months ending in March, that number declined for each of the following three months. In the 12-month period ending in June, it had dropped to an estimated 107,582, down 2.4% from March.

In Kentucky, the provisional report shows that there has been a steady, though slight, decrease in the number of estimated overdose deaths in all but one of the 12-month periods since September 2021.

The year-to-year decline in predicted overdose deaths from the 12 months ended June 2021 was 13, a decrease of 0.6%.

But just like the rest of the nation, there has been a decrease in overdose deaths in the last three months, dropping from an estimated total of 2,372 in the 12 months ended in March to 2,299 in the 12 months ended in June. That 3% drop is slightly higher than the national average.

“Today’s data continue to show a hopeful trend of a decrease in overdose deaths,” but more work is needed for “expanding care for substance use disorder, making naloxone more accessible and dismantling drug trafficking operations,” Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said in a statement.

The report also includes data about drug-overdose deaths by drug or class of drugs. In Kentucky, it shows that in the 12-month period that ended in June 2022, natural opioids were involved in 1,830 of the reported deaths and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl were involved in 1,673 of them.

People who are struggling with drug abuse or who are concerned about a family member’s substance use can search for treatment providers at
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