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One nation struggling with addiction

I must admit, there was a lot I had to get used to when I came to live in Kentucky.
Although, probably one of the most shocking was the opioid epidemic that was quickly thrown in my face and plastered across all local news outlets. I am not going to lie, there was a moment of terror when I saw the issue Kentucky was facing that I did not know about prior to moving to the state. I wondered what we had done moving my kids here, and I worried it was a huge mistake.
Working in the newspaper industry, I suddenly saw how many arrests and several articles a month revolved around an epidemic I had heard mention of before, but never truly understand the magnitude of in my little bubble on the West Coast. Almost three years later, and several articles written, I was all on board earlier this month when the Jessamine County Health Department wrote to me and asked me to include an article in an upcoming edition on the decrease in overdose deaths in the state for the first time in five years.
I dove into research and spoke to local doctors and rehabilitation clinics, as well as finding any and all local and national statistics I could. Obsessed since moving to this state to understand why I never heard or saw the horrific fight going on in our nation prior to relocating, I needed and wanted to understand more. In my poking around, I was shocked to find some information I think many of you will be curious to know as well.
During my time in California, I heard of the nation’s epidemic, but it was not thrown in my face as it is here in Kentucky. This got me to thinking. Is the epidemic really such an issue nationwide, or is more centralized in certain locations?
I decided to poll just one county in California where I was born, Orange County, whose population is almost the same as the entire state of Kentucky. In recent year’s they had more overdose deaths to opioids than the Commonwealth – but yet I never heard much talk about it during my time living on the West Coast. Which makes me wonder, are we doing a service or an injustice in our constant reporting of the opioid epidemic? With these statistics, I am sure a good debate could go either way and I would love to hear your thoughts as a county in submitted letters to the editor.
From the story I wrote in this week’s edition, I hope only light is shed on the crisis. That we are fighting a good fight and there are changes happening. Good changes and steps in the right direction for those who need help and for future generations to not face what we unfortunately have had to.
We still have a long way to go but look at the progress we have made so far. That is something to be proud of.

Brittany Fuller is the editor of The Jessamine Journal and Jessamine Life magazine. She can be reached at brittany.fuller@jessaminejournal.com.