2023 drug overdose deaths dip in Kentucky

Published 4:01 pm Friday, June 7, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Gov. Andy Beshear announced on Thursday that overdose deaths in Kentucky have decreased for the second year in a row, with 2023 seeing a 9.8 percent decrease compared to the previous year. 

This new report continues Kentucky’s trend in declining overdose deaths. In 2022, Kentucky’s drug overdose deaths declined by 5 percent compared with 2021, which marked the first such decline since 2018. Kentucky was one of only eight to see a decrease in overdose deaths in 2022, while the nation saw a slight increase overall.

“By working together, we have decreased the amount of drug overdose deaths in Kentucky, yet still far too many lives have been lost, and we still have a long way to go,” Beshear said, during a press conference in the Capitol Rotunda. “From the far west to the far east of the commonwealth, we are creating a home where fewer children will know the pain of addiction and loss of a loved one to an overdose. We have remained committed to helping our families overcome addiction and celebrate our progress and renew that commitment today.” 

Email newsletter signup

According to the 2023 Kentucky Drug Overdose Fatality Report, 1,984 Kentuckians lost their lives last year to a drug overdose. Fentanyl accounted for 79.1 percent, and methamphetamine accounted for 55.2 percent of overdose deaths. The two continue to be the most prevalent drugs contributing to overdoses in the state. The report also indicates that 35- to 44-year-olds had the highest number of drug overdose deaths in 2023, at 571, which was a decrease of 13.4% from 2022.

The Governor noted that while the state saw a smaller increase in this report, there is still a concerning trend of increased overdose deaths among Black Kentuckians. The latest report shows that the rate has slowed, by increasing 5 percent in 2023, compared with 22 percent in the last report.

“This increase is concerning, despite it being smaller than previous years,” Gov. Beshear said. “We are committed to working with community partners and leaders to reverse this trend, and we are going to use recently received grant funding to increase education and outreach efforts.”

The 2023 Kentucky Overdose Fatality Report was compiled by the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center using data from the Office of Vital Statistics, the Office of the State Medical Examiner and Kentucky’s coroners. It should be noted that these numbers are subject to change.