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Bath County leads state in overdose deaths, Commonwealth’s Attorney blames out of state drugs


Kentucky’s 2022 Overdose Fatality Report finds that Bath County is leading the state in overdose deaths per capita.

The county showed a rate of more than 185 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 people two years ago. That’s over 200 percent higher than Kentucky’s per capita rate.

Ashton McKenzie is the Commonwealth’s Attorney for the 21st Judicial Circuit, which includes Bath County. She said not only has the amount fatal fentanyl overdoses increased, but the amount of the drug in the county has increased as well.

“You’ve got individuals that, before, finding them with two grams of fentanyl would be a lot,” she said. “Now, we have individuals that are bringing and transporting those narcotics from other states, and they’re bringing 100 or 200 grams – which is a huge amount of fentanyl – into the circuit.”

McKenzie said courts have had to adapt as a response to the number of outside dealers.

“We are addressing how we prosecute those individuals who are not from our community that are bringing in large amounts of narcotics so that they receive significant sentences for the actions that they’ve taken, and really focusing on those individuals versus the person that may be a user and may need some help and assistance,” she said. “We’re really trying to restructure how we pursue that in the prosecution of those individuals.”

McKenzie said those struggling with addiction can go to any Kentucky State Police Post and ask for help finding treatment through their Angel Initiative, no questions asked.