Deadly Rise in Heroin Overdoses Impacts Kentucky
It might be better known as the home of the Kentucky Derby and KFC, but Louisville may soon be known for something else – a deadly opiate addiction crisis that often leads to multiple 911 calls per hour related to heroin overdoses. As Kentucky’s largest city, Louisville has a population over 600,000, and hosts three Fortune 500 companies, but many of it’s residents live in stark and uncompromising conditions. Heroin overdoses in Kentucky highlight the opioid addiction crisis across the country.
Poverty May Contribute To (And Exacerbate) Louisville’s Addiction Crisis
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that up to 25 percent of Louisville-Jefferson County residents live below the poverty line, and the hopelessness that comes with poverty could be a major contributor to the city’s addiction crisis. Over the last few decades, economic conditions in heartland cities like Louisville have grown steadily worse; good manufacturing jobs are hard to come by and many of the city’s workers don’t have the education to pursue better paying work.
Economic Conditions Also Impact Drug Treatment Options For Residents
Unfortunately, the same economic conditions that may have solidified heroin abuse as a way of life for many Louisville residents also make it much more difficult for them to receive quality heroin addiction treatment. For those on certain insurance plans, including medicare and medicaid programs in states like Kentucky, access to rehab facilities and treatment programs may be extremely limited, and insurance may not pay out enough to make heroin addiction treatment affordable. This can be especially difficult for those who are addicted to heroin or other strong opioids, as Kentucky’s medicaid program does not allow patients to purchase methadone with an insurance discount, and has significant limitations on benefits for suboxone, naloxone, and other essential medications that may help users quit a heroin habit.
In fact, these insurance limitations may be one of the reasons why a recent study conducted by Johns Hopkins University estimated that 80% percent of people with an opioid addiction aren’t getting any kind of treatment. Even if they can afford treatment programs and medications, addiction sufferers who work full or part time to support themselves and/or other family members may not be able to take time off from work to attend a rehab or medical detox program. This is certainly the case among many of Louisville’s working poor.
Despite the financial difficulties of getting treatment, economic considerations are surely not the only factor contributing to the city’s ongoing opioid addiction crisis. Social factors also play a major role, especially when addiction runs through families, as it so often does in America’s heartland. In many cases, two, three, or even four generations of a family may live in the same home, each suffering from the same addiction. When this occurs, it’s even more difficult for an individual to break free of their problem; instead of having the support of their family to get better, family members may actively support a person’s continual abuse of drugs.
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Laced Drugs Increase the Chance Of Deadly Heroin Overdoses in Kentucky
Perhaps Louisville’s heroin problem wouldn’t be so deadly if the substance were pure, but it isn’t. Instead, the drug is often laced with it’s far stronger cousin, Fentanyl, which is often up to 50 times stronger than the heroin it’s mixed with. Often, people suffering from addiction think they’re getting a pure product, but after taking what seems to be the usual amount, they begin to overdose in as little as a few minutes.
Education, Better Treatment, And More Public Funding May Give Louisville Hope
To combat the amount of heroin overdoses in Kentucky and the opiate addiction crisis in the state, significant changes will need to be made to public policy and government initiatives in a variety of critical areas including health, education, and insurance funding. General educational initiatives may be able to give the city’s poorest citizens better job opportunities and a stronger incentive to stay clean, while drug specific initiatives may be able to teach people of all ages about the risks of opiates and how to avoid dangerous overdoses. One community education program, 55,000 Degrees, aims to make sure that 50% of Louisville’s working-age adults have college degrees by 2020.
In addition to improving education for residents, better public health programs and improved insurance funding for medicare and medicaid could help provide rehab programs and medications like methadone and suboxone to people who need it the most. Needle exchange programs and similar initiatives could also help reduce additional risks of injecting drugs with a contaminated needle.
Drug Rehab for Heroin Addiction is Still the Most Effective Solution
When an addiction sufferer has recently received heroin overdose treatment, the most effective way to help is to get them heroin addiction treatment at an accredited drug rehab facility. At Get Treatment, our directory of top-rated drug rehab centers is the perfect tool for helping you find the quality care you need.
Drug overdoses claim more than 16,000 lives each year. Don’t be another statistic. If you or someone you know is in need opioid addiction treatment or has recently experienced a heroin overdose and needs help, contact Get Treatment to learn how to find help at a Kentucky drug treatment center. Our comprehensive and tailored heroin addiction treatment programs provide the tools and support you need to achieve lasting recovery.