Kentucky Association of Counties

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Kentucky Association of Counties


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Utilizing Kentucky's overdose data to inform opioid abatement strategies

Key takeaways for county funding allocation and decision-making

For the second consecutive year, Kentucky has seen a decline in overdose deaths. According to the 2023 Drug Overdose Fatality Report, there were 1,984 overdose deaths in 2023, a 9.8% decrease from the previous year. Remarkably, Kentucky is among only eight states experiencing such a decline.

The report offers crucial insights for Kentucky counties working to effectively allocate opioid settlement funds. By analyzing trends and demographic patterns in overdose fatalities, counties can judiciously channel resources to areas with the greatest needs.

Data-Driven Allocation

  1. Age-Specific Interventions: The high fatality rate among adults age 35 to 44 years old and the increase among 55- to 74-year-olds suggest targeted prevention and treatment programs for these age groups.
  2. Racial Disparities: The higher overdose death rate among Black residents indicates the need for culturally sensitive interventions and community outreach programs to address this disparity.
  3. Substance Focus: With fentanyl involved in 79.1% of overdose deaths, counties should prioritize harm reduction education and prevention programs specifically addressing the potency of fentanyl.

Counties can use funds from the national opioid settlement to implement various harm reduction initiatives. Programs that were highlighted in the report to have played a role in reducing the number of overdose deaths were Narcan distribution, the KY Help Call Center and syringe service programs.

Kentucky has introduced a new website to assist residents in locating Narcan, a drug that reverses opioid overdoses. The site,, helps users find nearby locations offering Narcan for free.
By focusing on data-driven interventions, counties can maximize the impact of settlement funds, ultimately reducing overdose fatalities and supporting recovery across Kentucky. Notably, for the first time since 2018, the U.S. marked a 3% decrease in overdoses in 2023 according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, showing progress in the fight against the opioid crisis.

NACo Opioid Solution Brief: Syringe Service Programs
NACo Opioid Solution Brief: Naloxone

Upcoming training: KACo Leadership Institute: Opioid Settlement Funding

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