‘It’s our number one problem’: Fentanyl cases increasing around the region

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 3:52 PM EST
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PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Substance abuse of prescription drugs, along with with heroin, methamphetamine and illicit fentanyl, remain one of the most critical public health and safety issues Kentucky is facing.

Perry County Sheriff Joe Engle said fentanyl related cases are currently the counties number one problem.

”The biggest problem that it’s causing is death,” said Engle. “I mean it’s just absolutely killing a lot of people in our communities. It’s a lot more people than people would realize, but it’s really killing a lot of people in our communities. It’s our major problem here right now.”

Engle added that many of the deaths are caused due to fentanyl being mixed with meth, a common drug in Eastern Kentucky.

For years, the annual number of Kentuckians that died from drug overdoses have steadily climbed creating a toll on families, communities, social services and economic growth.

The Perry County Quick Response Team is starting a program called the, “Leave Behind Program.” Officials say many of the overdose calls they respond to, the individual denies transport to the hospital once they receive Narcan, putting them in danger of overdosing again once EMS leaves.

The program supplies EMS crews with a bag to leave behind filled with resources.

”They can leave this with them. They know how to contact the quick response team. They know what help that is out there and reach out to us. It has also Narcan in case they overdose again,” said Sandra Boucher, Program Director.

Boucher said the goal for this program is to decrease the risk of overdose deaths as well as give them the opportunity to meet the individual where they are with resources.