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KET explores public health crisis with Inside Opioid Addiction initiative

Kentucky has the third-highest drug overdose death rate in the United States. And that rate is rising.

“Drug overdose deaths and opioid-involved deaths continue to increase in the United States,” reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Deaths from drug overdose are up among both men and women, all races, and adults of nearly all ages.”

The CDC has also identified 220 counties in the U.S. with the highest risk for developing outbreaks of HIV and Hepatitis C related to intravenous drug use. Twenty-five percent – 54 counties – are in Kentucky.

Over the past year, KET has been working to elevate awareness of the complex issues that surround this public health crisis. KET’s Inside Opioid Addiction initiative, funded in part by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, explores the many dimensions of this crisis and pathways toward solutions. Recent programs include:

  • Journey to Recovery, a new KET documentary that examines treatment and recovery programs, and provides insight from national experts in addiction recovery and drug policy
  • Inside Opioid Addiction Forum, a discussion hosted by KET’s Renee Shaw that brings together prominent Kentucky policy and law enforcement officials, medical experts and recovery advocates who discuss effective strategies to combat the crisis

All facets of our communities are impacted: prison systems, public safety, the courts, schools, hospitals, emergency workers, employers, and social services.

Most impacted are the Kentuckians with opioid addiction – and their families – who are struggling in its grip or on the path to recovery.

Explore KET.org/opioids to watch and share Inside Opioid Addiction resources and programs.