(LOUISVILLE, Ky - February 6, 2019) Twice as many Kentucky adults with a drug use problem entered treatment last year when a friend or family member intervened compared to those who entered a program on their own, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) report. In the past 12 months, 54 percent of Kentucky adults who have a family member or friend with drug problems reported that the person entered a treatment program.

Meanwhile, a growing percentage of Kentucky adults said they know a friend or family member who has experienced problems as a result of using drugs, the KHIP report found.

KHIP is an annual telephone poll of Kentucky adults about health and policy issues that affect health; it is funded jointly by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, and Interact for Health.
 
According to KHIP, 31 percent of Kentucky adults said a friend or family member experienced problems last year as a result of using drugs. From 2017 to 2018, heroin use rose from 16 percent to 20 percent, meth use was up from 16 percent to 22 percent, and prescription drug abuse rose from 24 percent to 30 percent. Both heroin and meth use are also up since 2013, when KHIP first posed these questions, but use of prescription drugs such as OxyContin or Percocet has fluctuated, from as high as 33 percent in 2012 and as low as 24 percent in both 2014 and last year.
 
Among those who had a friend or family member with drug problems last year, in total 54 percent reported the person got treatment, with 36 percent entering treatment because someone intervened and 18 percent on their own. The remaining 44 percent did not get treatment, KHIP found.

"Our message is that treatment works and recovery is possible," said Katie Marks, Ph.D., Kentucky Opioid Response Effort (KORE) Project Director. "Engagement in evidence-based treatment enables a person to address the biological, psychological, and social factors associated with a substance use disorder. Kentucky is rapidly expanding access to the full continuum of high quality substance use treatment and recovery support services."

The most frequent reason reported for not entering treatment was that the person didn't want to quit using drugs, which happened 35 percent of the time. Another 17 percent said the friend or family member didn't believe they had a problem. Nine percent said the person with a problem had died. Other less frequent answers included "can't afford it" and "no treatment available nearby."

"While it is encouraging that more people are entering treatment for substance use, ensuring there are no barriers to accessing quality treatment is critical," said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. "Policies and programs should support access in the community and without regard to income."

Kentucky also has developed a website to help residents find addiction treatment called Find Help Now. Visit https://findhelpnowky.org/ or call 1-833-8KY-HELP. Additional resources for treatment and recovery may be found on Kentucky's Office of Drug Policy at https://odcp.ky.gov/Pages/Treatment-Resources.aspx as well as the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Adult Substance Abuse Treatment and Recovery Services Branch at http://dbhdid.ky.gov/dbh/adultsa.aspx. Anyone having a medical emergency should call 911 immediately.
 
The full KHIP report is available here.

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About the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Funded by an endowment, the mission of the nonpartisan Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is to address the unmet health needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested nearly $28 million in health policy research, advocacy, and demonstration project grants across the Commonwealth. Follow the Foundation on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and visit our website at www.healthy-ky.org

Media Contacts:
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Alexa Kerley
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