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CDC: Kentucky drug overdose deaths among highest in nation

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Data recently released by the Centers for Disease Control names Kentucky among the five states with the highest rates of death due to drug overdose.

Kentucky ranked third alongside Ohio in the CDC’s analysis, only falling behind West Virginia and New Hampshire. Rode Island had the fifth highest death rate.

The report analyzed drug overdose data from 2015. The Commonwealth reported 1,273 drug overdose deaths in 2015, a 21% increase from the previous year. Opioids were involved in a total of 33,091 deaths across the United States, according to the data.

The CDC named opioids, both prescription and illicit, as the driving force behind the nationwide increase, noting that opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999.

The number of drug overdose deaths in Louisville this year is already “exponentially higher” than in previous years, according to Lt. Emily McKinley of LMPD’s Homicide Unit. McKinley said homicide detectives investigate most drug overdose deaths to ensure there is no foul play.

Detectives have already linked at least 57 deaths in 2017 to suspected overdose, McKinley said, adding that the number could fluctuate pending the coroner’s final report in each case.

MetroEMS responded to an average 32 overdose runs each day in February, with more than 100 runs recorded each weekend.

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