Several KY counties seek to improve Northern KY drug treatment efforts by creating a shared policy center for the region, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The Northern KY Office of Drug Control Policy is planned to open July 1, 2015, using funds from three counties in the region: Kenton, Boone, and Campbell Counties. This regional office will be tasked with the research and proposal of effective drug treatment and prevention methods for the counties, which are facing tough problems with drug abuse, especially from heroin.
A recent outbreak of HIV infection in rural Indiana has Kentucky officials on alert for new HIV infection cases from sharing needles while injecting heroin and other opioid drugs. In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an HIV outbreak centered in a small rural community in Indiana, in which most individuals who were infected had been engaged in shared drug use activity, most commonly injecting an opioid painkiller with shared syringes. They found that 135 people in a community of 4,200 were infected with the virus. Kentucky health officials are concerned the state could be at risk for a similar outbreak.
Fewer people died from heroin overdose in 2014 than in the previous year in some Northern KY counties, where the heroin epidemic is hitting communities the hardest. This comes as encouraging news for a region desperate for effective solutions to a drug problem that has seemed only to worsen in recent years. While the decrease in overdose deaths in some counties may be small, it could be a sign that prevention and treatment strategies are finally starting to reverse the epidemic.
Every day people with undiagnosed addictions walk into emergency rooms for medical care that may or may not be related to substance abuse. The question is, how many walk out with any kind of intervention into their problem with drugs or alcohol? Are ER physicians and nurses able to identify signs of a substance use disorder? What kind of intervention or treatment for addiction can they provide in the brief time before the patient is discharged? NPR wrote up a study in which Yale physician-researchers tested how effective an ER department might be in conducting brief interventions and referrals to treatment for patients with addictions. The results showed that, with the right tools, emergency room doctors could be crucial first movers in getting patients into comprehensive treatment programs.
Campbell County in Northern KY will include a new substance abuse treatment program in a planned expansion of their detention center, projected to be open in January 2017. The new facilities will include rooms used for substance abuse treatment programs and more space for inmates detoxing from heroin and other drugs. Tentative plans are to create the program in Campbell County for men only and next create a women’s substance abuse treatment program in adjacent Kenton County. County corrections officials have expressed their desire to create an evidence-based treatment program to help address the serious heroin problem plaguing Northern Kentucky.
Participants in Kentucky’s Drug Court system may be allowed to stay on their MAT drug prescriptions, according to a new change in the program’s rules. Previously, those given sentences in Drug Court who were taking MAT medications like Suboxone, methadone, and Vivitrol, had to taper off their prescriptions over a period of six months. That six-month limitation is now gone from the Drug Court Rules, giving KY judges the power to decide whether a defendant may remain on a prescription.
Heroin is not just a Kentucky problem. Two national studies published this month by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provided evidence that the heroin epidemic is deepening across the country. The problem cuts across occupational demographics, as well as—disturbingly—age demographics, affecting young adults in their 20s more and more.
Louisville’s WFPL News recently produced a public forum on issues related to Kentucky’s heroin epidemic. Experts from various arenas of substance abuse treatment briefly presented on the current status of heroin treatment and incarceration in Kentucky. This was followed by a question-and-answer session in which the experts fielded concerns from addiction treatment professionals and former drug users from the audience. Listen the forum below, and read our summary of the presentation and discussions.
It’s official—Stepworks of London is now open! We’re excited to finally bring our trusted program of 30-day residential addiction treatment to London, KY. We hope you’re excited, too. With a brand-new treatment facility located in the scenic Kentucky countryside, Stepworks is prepared to help you, your loved one, or your client achieve sobriety now.
The wait is almost over: Stepworks of London is ready to begin providing the best addiction care in the region! Our doors will officially open in one week, on Wednesday, April 15. In the meantime, we’re very excited to announce that our waiting list is now open to new clients and referrals! If you are struggling with alcohol or drug use, you can get in touch with a Stepworks team member to reserve a place in our detox and 30-day addiction treatment program at our brand-new facility in London, KY. Call 800-545-9031 to begin the process of enrollment or referral today!