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Number Of Overdose Calls Increased In Kentucky

Update Date: Feb 15, 2017 08:52 AM EST

The country's opioid epidemic has spiked in the Bluegrass State. Kentucky is one of the top five states in the nation for overdose deaths.

Between Thursday and Friday, the Louisville Metro Emergency Services had received 52 overdose calls from opiates. In the span of 32 hours, that's almost two calls per hour for overdose patients.

One overdose incident involved a pickup rear-ending another car after both driver and passenger had overdosed. The passenger was pronounced dead on the scene. The driver was injected with Narcan, an opioid overdose antidote.

Out of the 52 overdose cases, 34 patients were brought to the hospital. Emergency Services spokesman Mitchell Burmeister said "When we say overdoses, we usually mean heroin, but that included alcohol, prescription medications, etcetera." Louisville's addiction epidemic does not only include heroin and opioid use but also alcohol.

According to The Washington Post, there have been multiple factors for the epidemic. Opioid and heroin overdoses have been reported in the working-class and rural communities. Heavy drinking has been reported to be responsible for deaths of rural white women, where cirrhosis of the liver have doubled since the end of the 20th century.

In January, Louisville had a total of 695 overdoses, a 33 percent increast from last year. Last week's spike was due to the increase of heroin availability in the county. Medical director for Emergency Services, Robert Couch said they had to use naloxone to resuscitate several of overdose cases.

Louisville has a population of about 590,000 and is the largest city in Jefferson County. It has the greatest number of deaths from heroin.

According to New York Times, Kentucky is one of the five states with the highest rates of deaths linked to drug overdose. Other states were West Virginia, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Rhode Island according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state has partnered with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration'ss 360 Strategy program for community outreach programs in an effort to reduce opioid addiction and overdose.

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