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Poll Shows Heroin Use Increasing Across Kentucky

Institute of Human Development and Social Change

New data from the Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) suggest problems surrounding heroin use are increasing in metropolitan areas across Kentucky, while misuse of prescription pain relievers like OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet and codeine, may be dropping. 

Young adults, ages 18-29, are still the most likely to know a family member or friend who has had problems as a result of drug use.

Highlights of the poll include:

Statewide: slightly more than 1 in 10 (11%) reported family or friends who have experienced problems as a result of heroin, up from 9% in 2013.

Regionally: One-quarter (26%) of adults in northern Kentucky; 13% in the Louisville area; 11% in the Lexington area; 8% in eastern Kentucky and 7% in western Kentucky report knowing a family member or friend who has had problems as a result of using heroin.

Statewide, almost one in four (24%) reported having family members or friends who experienced problems as a result of abusing prescription pain relievers; down from 32% in 2011.

Eastern Kentucky has the highest percentage of adults (34%) who indicated family members or friends have experienced problems as a result of pain reliever abuse. 

In the 18-29 age group nearly one in five (18%) have had family members or friends experience problems because of using heroin; 31% reported family or friends who have experienced problems as a results of abusing prescription pain relievers. 

“KHIP suggests that young adults between the ages of 18 and 29, are more likely to indicate that they have family members or friends impacted by prescription pain relievers and heroin,” said Dr. Susan Zepeda, President/CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.  “This information can be helpful to Kentucky policymakers as they devise strategies to reduce drug use.”

Kentucky ranks fifth in the nation for drug overdose deaths, behind only West Virginia, Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico. Drug overdose deaths per capita have quadrupled since 1999, surpassing motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in Kentucky.

KHIP was funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health.  The poll was conducted October 8, 2014—November 6, 2014, by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. 

A random sample of 1,597 adults from throughout Kentucky was interviewed by telephone, including landlines and cell phones.  The poll has a margin of error of ±2.5%.

(story provided by Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky)

Paul Hitchcock earned his Masters in Communications from Morehead State University and Bachelors in Radio-TV/Psychology from Georgetown College. A veteran broadcaster for more than 40 years and an avid fan of blues, jazz and American roots music. Hitchcock has been with WMKY since 1986 and was named General Manager in 2003. He currently hosts "Muddy Bottom Blues" (Fri., 8pm-9pm), "Nothin' But The Blues" (Sat., 8pm-12am), "Sunday Night Jazz Showcase" and "Live From The Jazz Lounge" (Sun., 8pm-9pm) and "The Golden Age of Radio" (Sun., 2pm-3pm). He also serves as producer for "A Time For Tales" and "The Reader's Notebook."
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