Overdose deaths climb in 2021, experts preparing for year ahead

Addiction recovery centers are preparing for an influx of clients seeking treatment in the new...
Addiction recovery centers are preparing for an influx of clients seeking treatment in the new year.(Storyblocks)
Published: Dec. 31, 2021 at 4:01 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - In 2021, there were 508 overdose deaths in Jefferson County, in addition to 85 others still pending toxicology results.

Kentucky had the fourth most overdose deaths in the nation between April 2020 to April 2021, according to the CDC.

“It’s incredible the rise we’ve seen in the past two years, and we have no signs it’s getting any better,” Pat Fogarty, Addiction Recovery Care’s Vice President of Operations said.

Fogarty said fentanyl is likely to blame for the increase in overdose deaths; he added fentanyl is the number one cause of death in people 18 to 45-years-old.

The drug has also changed the way ARC operates its more than 30 recovery centers around Kentucky, requiring the centers to have thousands of doses of Naloxone handy, which is a drug that reverses an overdose.

“It requires an increased amount of awareness in how we approach each day in our facility and having the life-saving drug Naloxone on hand in case there was an overdose situation,” Fogarty said.

In the meantime, ARC is preparing its staff, transportation services and other resources for the influx of clients it expects to seek addiction treatment in the new year.

“Historically, January is always an increase in people seeking help and treatment, right after the holidays, early January, it’s kind of like the new year commitment,” Fogarty said. “A lot of people make commitments to themselves or their family members to seek help, so that’s what we’re really gearing up for now as are the other providers in the region.”

“Individuals who seek treatment or have a moment of clarity that they need to get help, need to find treatment immediately,” Fogarty said. “If you don’t get help in that instance it could become a fleeting thought, and you may never find treatment, and you may succumb to this deadly fentanyl outbreak we’re seeing in Kentucky.”

Toxicology results for the 85 additional possible overdoses won’t be complete until February or March.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, click here for resources.

WAVE 3 News Now
WAVE 3 News Now(WAVE 3 News)

Copyright 2021 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.