Opioid abuse study shows Perry County tops nation; 3 others close behind
showing four Eastern Kentucky counties topping the list of highest opioid abuse hospitalization rates in the nation.
Perry, Leslie, Knott, and Breathitt counties are in the top ten of counties across America.
Perry and Leslie are one and two, with Perry leading by a staggering six percent.
The study by Data Driven Health Care Analytics Firm Dexur was done by taking Medicare enrollments (original Medicare) and dividing those by the total inpatient Medicare discharges for opioid abuse from October 2015 to September 2016.
Dexur Analyzer Jeffrey Maser says Dexur’s goal is to bring light to the issue.
“Perry County has a 6% opioid abuse rate and then some other county might have a .2% rate and you can really tell the difference between the disparities in the locations, and that's what we're really trying to bring to light," said Maser.
Overall, Dexur is working to educate patients about their options so they can make the best decision to bring them out of the addiction.
"It’s about bringing these statistics to light so that these people can make an informed decision surrounding their choices for health care," said Maser.
Health officials understand there is an issue in Eastern Kentucky, however, they say the problem lies in the line of work a lot of Eastern Kentuckians do.
"A lot of the disability in this area arises out of the type of industry we have typically had. The coal mine the heavy labor," said Doctor Mitch Wicker a physician at Hazard Clinic.
Officials believe that the way to knock these numbers down is to educate patients that way they are informed and aware of ways to treat and prevent further addiction.