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Special to Western Recorder: How Kentucky churches can help prevent prescription drug abuse


Kentucky has the third highest drug overdose mortality rate in the United States. Drug overdose deaths in Kentucky quadrupled between 1999 (4.9 per 100,000 people) and 2013 (23.6 per 100,000 people), and now kill more Kentuckians than traffic accidents.

While the state’s most abused drugs are marijuana, methamphetamine, and cocaine, pharmaceutical drug abuse is growing rapidly and creating an epidemic. More than 1,000 people die each year in Kentucky from the abuse of powerful prescription painkillers like Oxycodone and Hydrocodone.

The fourth most medicated state in the nation, one in five Kentucky teens has admitted to using prescription pills non-medically. The trafficking and illicit use of prescription drugs may be the most significant current drug threat now facing Kentuckians. In fact, recent reports show that one in three residents of the state have reported a family member or close friend abusing prescription drugs.

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