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Overall, Kentucky overdose deaths are down, but the number of Black Kentuckians dying continues to rise

Governor Andy Beshear announcing the overdose death rate of Black Kentuckians is still rising
Gov. Andy Beshear's Office
Governor Andy Beshear announcing the overdose death rate of Black Kentuckians is still rising

While Kentucky's overall deaths from drug overdoses has gone down, the number of deaths among the commonwealth's Black population has risen.

The 2023 Kentucky Drug Overdose Fatality Report shows Kentucky's overall death rate fell nearly 10% while Black Kentuckians saw a 5% increase.

During a press conference, Governor Andy Beshear said while this news is disappointing, there is some good to come from that report.

“That was down from a 22% jump in 2022, meaning the increase is lessening and lessening significantly. But it does say we have to continue to act intentionally, that we have to refuse to say that any increase is OK.”

Governor Beshear said more has to be done to help.

“I think a lot of it is additional local partnerships, its listening to people within the community, its supporting programs that have been proven, and work. Making sure we are intentional, that we recognize this is a challenge. There is a lot of success here, but this is a failing.”

He said it is important to put resources where they are needed most. The governor said Kentucky recently received some grant funding that will be used to increase outreach and education efforts to help reduce the number of Black deaths due to drug overdoses.

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Stan Ingold is WEKU's News Director. He has worked in public broadcasting for 18 years, starting at Morehead State Public Radio before spending the past 10 years at Alabama Public Radio. Stan has been honored with numerous journalism awards for his public radio reporting.
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