It is estimated that there are approximately 223,000 individuals in Kentucky who have an addiction to alcohol. It is also estimated that 227,000 individuals in Kentucky need alcohol addiction treatment but have not yet received it. There are an estimated 101,000 individuals in Kentucky with an addiction to illicit drugs. Approximately 97,000 individuals in Kentucky need drug addiction treatment but have not yet received it. Studies show that drug addiction and the need for effective drug addiction treatment programs are going to increase and have increased greatly since 1995 in Kentucky.
Kentucky Drug Rehab Programs
Kentucky offers several different types of drug and alcohol rehabs. The different types of Kentucky drug rehab programs Kentucky offers are detoxification, short-term inpatient treatment (30 days), and long-term inpatient treatment (more than 60 days). Some drug rehab programs in Kentucky offer substitute drugs during treatment. There are other drug rehab programs that are completely drug free. Almost all of Kentucky’s drug or alcohol rehab programs offer some type of care even after the patient’s treatment is over. Some offer individual counseling, group counseling, or even family counseling. Each program varies on what they offer as far as after treatment care.
Kentucky is currently home to some of the most vicious drug problems in the country. A 2013 study has uncovered that Kentucky is number three on the list of highest drug overdose mortality rate, according to HealthyAmericans.org. Currently, Kentucky’s largest threats are methamphetamine, cocaine, crack, marijuana, prescription drugs, and club drugs. There’s no denying that Kentucky sees its fair share of drug-related activity, but what has spawned from that? What are the death tolls, crime rates, and other statistics associated with this drug use? Additionally, what are the culprits for Kentucky’s most menacing drug problems? This is a thorough guide on current drug trends in Kentucky, and the ramifications of the widespread drug use and activity.
Current Drugs Problems/Issues in Kentucky
As of now, Kentucky is currently experiencing drug abuse trends that relate directly to methamphetamine, prescription drugs, and marijuana. Out of all of the meth-related incidents that occurred in 2012, Nola.com reported that Kentucky (along with Missouri, Indiana, and Tennessee) accounted for half of them. WPSD Local 6, a local news station for the quad state region, also reported that the counties that accounted for the most meth labs seized in 2010 were Jefferson, Laurel, Warren, Barren, and Hardin (listed from highest to lowest). Costs for these lab responses amounted to nearly $3 million.
Prescription drugs are at the face of another trend that Kentucky is seeing in its drug activity. Not only have younger people been discovered to be abusing prescription drugs that weren’t even prescribed to them in the first place, but older people are also dealing with their fair share of trouble with these types of narcotics. One of the many proposed reasons for the rise in prescription drug abuse in not only Kentucky, but the rest of the United States, is that they are not culturally viewed as harmful drugs the way meth, cocaine, or heroin are. Because prescription medication is prescribed by healthcare professionals, there is a decreased sense of worry about health risks tied to them. Likewise, the problem is also argued to lie with healthcare professionals themselves. The existence of a prescription medication abuse problem in Kentucky is argued to stem from doctors and physicians prescribing the drugs at all.
As with many other states, marijuana is also associated with rising drug trends in Kentucky. Not only is it one of the most frequently used and distributed drugs in Kentucky, but it is also becoming more and more associated with violence as time wears on. Because growing, distributing, and selling marijuana is illegal in the state of Kentucky, as well as most of the rest of the United States, growers are prone to protect their businesses by wielding firearms, planting explosives, and setting traps. In particular cases where growers were operating and growing marijuana on federally owned land, there were times when visitors to national parks were assaulted verbally and physically just for stepping on the growers’ “property.” As of late, Kentucky law enforcement has also managed to seize more than double the amount of firearms and weapons than in the decade past.
Crime Statistics and Trends Related to Drug Activity in Kentucky
In 2009 alone, the Kentucky State Police reported that 61,705 arrests were made in the state for drug-related violations. Additionally, 706 meth labs were seized by law enforcement that same year; a 138% increase from 2007, when 297 labs were seized.
WPSD Local 6 also reported that Kentucky has seen a positive drop in crime rates, but illegal drug usage has continued to rise. This data has been strongly evidenced by law enforcement in the Kentucky region majorly cracking down on drug activity, while rehabs are seeing an increase in patients seeking help for their drug addictions. For example, Vince Carter of Paducah’s Lifeline Ministries has reported a huge recent jump in clients that come to the facility in search of help with their drug abuse. McCracken County has also observed that almost all felony cases that pass through its circuit court are in some sort of relation to drug activity.
In 2013, Kentucky was observed to have been moving away from incarcerating individuals on drug charges and towards rehabilitating them. Of course, this was what was observed for minor cases where the drug offender was nonviolent and compliant. In this case, prison has been kept on the back burner for more significant cases where the drug offenders presented a serious risk to society and others around them. The state also has it in its plans to loosen the strict disciplinary action against many minor drug cases.
Popular Drugs in Kentucky
Currently, Kentucky is experiencing problems with drug activity in relation to methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, prescription drugs, and club drugs. However, methamphetamine is arguably the most rampant drug in Kentucky. Not only has usage of methamphetamine been on a rapid rise in Kentucky over the past several years, its production and distribution have also spread like wildfire. Methamphetamine is one of the most locally produced and distributed drugs in Kentucky, and it has been argued to have had an effect on the amount of methamphetamine that has managed to make its way from Mexico into the state.
Cocaine, on the other hand, is another rapidly emerging threat that is most present in highly-populated areas of Kentucky. While it is not very common that wholesale distribution of cocaine takes place in Kentucky, retail distribution is still on the rise.
Marijuana is currently an incredibly available drug in Kentucky, and it is, without a doubt, one of the most frequently used. Marijuana reigns over all other cash crops in the state by raking in $35 billion per year. As it stands, Caucasian independent dealers are the most common distributors of marijuana in Kentucky. These dealers receive marijuana by the wholesale amount from Mexican drug transporters that smuggle the drug into the country and state.
The prescription drug problem in Kentucky is not to be ignored, either. Recent studies have revealed that one in five teens have admitted to abusing prescription medicine in Kentucky. What’s even more alarming is that more than a thousand deaths occur in Kentucky every year due to overdoses brought on by prescription drugs. When people begin using abusing drugs, prescription medication is often one of the first drugs that they try before moving on to others.
Club drugs, like MDMA, LSD, PCP, and GHB, are becoming an increasing problem among younger generations that are likely to frequent clubs, bars, raves, electronic dance music festivals, and more. Any place in which there are lots of people, alcoholic drinks present, and loud music playing is a likely trading and consumption ground for club drugs. These particular drugs are currently on the rise mostly because there is a perception among young people that they are safe to take. These types of drugs typically come accompanied with myths and peer pressure that make younger people more comfortable with the idea of taking them, despite the very real health risks that they present.
Information on Drug-Related Deaths in Kentucky
Because of the rampant drug-related activity in Kentucky, there are certainly a number of death tolls that it has sustained in result. However, a bit of good news came when the Office of Drug Control Policy reported that there were fewer deaths associated with overdose in 2012 than in 2011. The majority of the overdoses recorded for 2012 in Kentucky were reported to be unintentional. The most common drug present in overdose cases was Alprazolam (Xanax). It was observed in nearly half the cases that involved autopsies. The average age of the overdose victims were 40 years, and the cases were seen predominantly in males.
What might be even more chilling is that Kentucky was reported in 2010 to be home to the most drug-related deaths in the entire nation. The deaths were not confined to certain types of people. In Mason County, a student passed away in April of 2010. In the Bracken/Robertson counties, a mother met her fate. Drug-related deaths are not prejudiced against people of more wealthy or esteemed lifestyles. Business owners, mothers, doctors, college students, and many other different types of people have met their fate at the hands of drug-related incidents.
Culprits for Kentucky’s Drug Problem
There are many proposed ideas as to why Kentucky has such a massive problem with narcotics and illegal drugs, particularly methamphetamine and prescription drugs. Particularly, methamphetamine is quite easy to manufacture from the inside of the home using common chemicals and ingredients. The primary ingredient in methamphetamine is pseudoephedrine, and it can be easily purchased over the counter at any major pharmacy. Because many of the ingredients to make meth are common, it is relatively inexpensive to manufacture – making it a great business opportunity for struggling individuals in poverty. Once it is manufactured, they can then sell it to clients for profit. Generally, a quarter of a gram of meth goes for $20-$25 on the street. This is an affordable, yet powerful drug that is easily attainable to most of the working class level individuals in Kentucky.
Likewise, prescription medication has become a rampant problem in Kentucky due to the ease of obtaining it. Prescription medication is often obtained with prescriptions from pharmacies, pain clinics, from connections to big pharmaceutical labs/companies, or even from the internet. Once the medication is obtained, it is then sold on the street for multiple times profit. Not all addicts to prescription medication get their drugs from dealers, however. Many addicts are users of prescription medication without even knowing it. For example, a middle-aged woman may have wound up in a serious car accident and sustained significant injuries in her back. In an effort to keep pain from the injuries sustained in the car wreck at a minimum, the woman’s doctor might prescribe her heavy duty pain medication. As time wears on, her back will more than likely restore to original health, but her body will have built a tolerance and addiction for the pain medication and she will wind up finding that she relies on it to live her life, regardless of whether she is in pain or not.
Kentucky has also been reported by many reputable news agencies to be the second most miserable state in the nation, according to a recent study. Misery and poverty have been proven time and time again to be directly linked to drug abuse. From this study, Kentucky was also found to be the most dependent state on prescription drugs in all of the nation. Almost 20 prescriptions per capita were filled in 2011.
Not only was Kentucky reported to be the second most miserable state in the nation, it also ranked in first for a handful of other unhealthy behavior. The tobacco usage was among the highest in the country, and almost 30% of respondents to the study stated that their health issues kept them from living regular lives.
SurfKY.com has also presented an interesting angle on why people begin smoking meth. Although this research does not vouch for all cases, but a lot of times when a person begins smoking meth, it is likely that they were once abusers of prescription pills and marijuana. Marijuana and prescription pills are both huge problems for Kentucky at this point in time. Because marijuana and prescription pills only provide a limited high, many users move on to drugs like meth to either experiment or to try something that they expect will provide them with a more significant high. In addition, some people have reported to start smoking meth either to increase their energy levels or to lose weight. Kentucky has problems with both lowered energy levels in residents as well as an obesity epidemic. Of course, these scenarios are not as common as those where users are simply trying to experiment or to simply gain a high, but they can and do happen all the time.
The Outlook for Kentucky’s Drug Problem
The United States Department of Justice has quite a bit to say about the outlook of the drug activity in Kentucky. First off, it has been reported that Kentucky law enforcement resources don’t size up to the weight of the drug problem in Kentucky. Because abuse of particular drugs has become so widespread, and has become an increasingly difficult problem for Kentucky’s law enforcement to keep up. Rehabilitation centers are expected to see a rise in clients approaching them for help in the near future once new users have had time to experience the awful, long term effects that illegal drugs can have. The eastern side of Kentucky will receive more producers moving in to set up meth labs in an effort to evade law enforcement focusing their resources on the cracking down of western Kentucky. Because eastern Kentucky is also made up of lots of uninhabited and unfrequented land, it is going to be particularly harder for law enforcement officials to detect the illegal activity.
Cocaine is not as available in Kentucky as methamphetamine, but it is forecasted to rise in popularity and availability as time wears on. Cocaine is a drug that comes often paired with violence, and violent drug crimes will increase because of its increasing presence. Urban and metropolitan areas will see the bulk of the violence brought on from cocaine. As you would also expect, rehabilitation and treatment centers will see a continuing rise in intakes that are addicted to and reliant on cocaine or crack.
Kentucky will not see much of a change in terms of its marijuana-related drug activity. It will remain as the most popularly used illicit drug in the state. Researchers are confident that marijuana isn’t going to die down any time soon as Kentucky is home to the most production of the crop in the entire country. Because there is so much money associated with marijuana, violence will also increase.
Prescription and club drug problems are also going to continue to emerge in the state. Particularly, it is expected that many users of prescription drugs will make their way from taking their drug of choice orally/nasally to injecting it using needles. As addiction progresses to these types of drugs, many users often look for more significant highs and more immediate ways to get the drugs into their systems. Intravenous injection is a classic method for gaining a more immediate and significant high. Additionally, with the implication of KASPER over the recent years to fight against prescription drug fraud, it’s likely that pharmacies and other pharmaceutical companies will see an increase in robberies and thefts of prescription drugs.
Club drugs will also be an overall problem in areas where young adults are high in numbers. These areas include college towns and urban/metropolitan areas. The most popular drugs that will continue to be abused in these types of areas are GHB and MDMA. Younger people in these areas will remain to be the primary types of abusers to these types of drugs.