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The capital of Kentucky is Frankfort, KY. This state entered the union on June 1, 1792. It was the fifteenth state to join the union. The state motto of Kentucky is “United we stand, divided we fall”. It has been nicknamed the “bluegrass state”. As of the 2010 census, 4,339,367 people call the state of Kentucky their home. While the state capital is Frankfort, the city with the largest population is Louisville/Jefferson county with 566,503 residents. The population of Kentucky as of 2010 could be broken down as follows: Male: 2,134,952 (49.2%); Female: 2,204,415 (50.8%). White: 3,809,537 (87.8%); Black: 337,520 (7.8%); American Indian: 10,120 (0.2%); Asian: 48,930 (1.1%); Other race: 55,551 (1.2%); Two or more races: 75,208 (1.7%); Hispanic/Latino: 132,836 (3.1%). 2010 population 18 and over: 3,315,996; 65 and over: 578,227 (13.3%); median age: 38.

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This week's topic is:

Kentucky Drug Use Trends

Kentucky is a state located in the east south-central region of the U.S., and is one of only four states which are actually constituted as a commonwealth. Kentucky is known as the "Bluegrass State" and is so-called because of the bluegrass found in many regions in the state. You may have heard of the Kentucky Derby, because the state is known for its horse racing, bourbon distilleries, automobile manufacturing, and bluegrass music. There are problems in Kentucky however which residents face, one of which faces many individuals and has disastrous consequences, and that would be the problem of substance abuse and how to effectively get help for it.


Alcohol abuse and alcoholism is a problem which begins very early on for Kentucky residents, with an estimated 21% of Kentucky 10th graders reporting past month alcohol use as compared to 14.7% nationally. Among individuals 18 and older, Kentucky has the highest frequency of past month binge drinking in the nation.


Non-medical abuse of prescription drugs is a particular problem in the state, with prescription pain killers being the main culprit. The rate of past year non-medical use of prescription pain killers is highest among individuals in Kentucky who are between the ages of 18 and 25 years of age, with around 15.4% of Kentucky 18-25 year olds reporting past year non-medical use of prescription drugs. Between 2003 and 2010, rates of abuse of the prescription pain killers hydrocodone and oxycodone have increased by 27% and 49%, respectively in Kentucky. Along with these statistics, studies indicate that between 1999 and 2009 the rate of treatment admissions in Kentucky for opioids as a primary drug of abuse has increased significantly from 1.8% of admissions to nearly 24%. Rates of abuse of prescription opioids have increased in Kentucky by 3.4% (hydrocodone) to 6.1% (oxycodone) every year between 1999 and 2008. Between 1999 and 2008, treatment admissions in Kentucky with opioids listed as the primary substance rose from 1 per 10,000 to 10 per 10,000, representing a statistically astounding 900% increase. The rate of illicit opioid use among 18-25 year olds in Kentucky is 26% higher than the national rate. Among high school age youth (12-17), the Kentucky rate of illicit opioid use is 17% higher than the national rate.

Other drugs are also a problem in the state of Kentucky, with the highest rates of past 30-day of marijuana in Kentucky by region in 2010 being KIPDA (18.5%), Northern Kentucky (17.5%), and and the Bluegrass (16.4%). Regionally, the highest cocaine and crack cocaine use rates in 2010 in Kentucky were seen in KIPDA (1.5%), Green River (1.3%), and Kentucky River (1.2%). The rate of past 30-day methamphetamine use among Kentucky 10th graders increased between 2008 and 2010, from 0.5% to 0.6%.The 2010 rate of past 30-day use of ecstasy among 10th graders was 1.0%, the same rate as 2008. The rate of past 30-day usage of inhalants for Kentucky 10th graders in 2010 was 2.7%.

Rates of abuse of prescription tranquilizers in Kentucky have remained relatively stable, and rates of abuse of the prescription benzodiazepine Alprazolam increased from 196 per 1,000 in 2003 to 217 per 1,000 in 2010 in Kentucky.


In 2008, the drug overdose mortality in Kentucky ranked sixth highest in the nation, and surpassed suicide mortality in 2005 and approached motor vehicle mortality in 2008.


Between 1999 and 2008, treatment admissions in Kentucky with opioids listed as the primary substance increased an astounding 900%. Treatment admissions and drug overdose mortality rates in Kentucky followed virtually identical patterns, with significant increases from 1999 to 2003 and a slight slump in 2004 followed by continued increases from 2005 to 2008. So as anyone can see, opioids are the most pressing substance abuse problem to address in the state.

Unfortunately, it is also one of the toughest to treat, but it is possible to overcome such a complex addiction and any other type of intense dependency issue with quality treatment in Kentucky. It is however best to correctly estimate what it will take to do so, based on the level of dependence being addressed because not all drug rehabs in the state are going to be able to achieve the desired results clients are looking for. So you will want to adequately match the treatment need of the client with the best drug rehab facility in each particular instance. For the challenges that are unique to Kentucky clients in regards to opioids and other illicit drugs, long-term inpatient and residential drug rehab programs in the state are by far the most effective based on long-term results and success rates. These types of programs not only provide quality treatment, but the environment appropriate for individuals who will still experience cravings and many challenges during the recovery process.

Population in Kentucky:4,173,405
State Prison Population in Kentucky:17,814
Probation Population in in Kentucky:33,286
Violent Crime Rate in Kentucky:
National Ranking:41
2007 Federal Drug Seizures in Kentucky:
Cocaine seizures in Kentucky:147.4 kgs.
Heroin seizures in Kentucky:0.9 kgs.
Methamphetamine seizures in Kentucky:7.8 kgs.
Marijuana seizures in Kentucky:4,813.8 kgs.
Hashish seizures in Kentucky:3.0 kgs.
MDMA seizures in Kentucky:0.0 kgs./969 du
Meth Lab Incidents in Kentucky:261
(DEA, Kentucky, and local city Law Enforcement)
Drug Situation in Kentucky:
  • Marijuana, methamphetamine, diverted pharmaceutical drugs, and cocaine are the primary drug threats in Kentucky.
  • Kentucky is a major source of domestically grown marijuana, most of which is produced in southeastern Kentucky.
  • The commonwealth of Kentucky consistently ranks as one of the top three, marijuana producing states.
  • The Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program destroyed 492,615 marijuana plants in Kentucky in 2007.
  • Marijuana produced in Kentucky either remains in the commonwealth or is exported to cities in Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and the eastern United States.
  • Methamphetamine lab activity in Kentucky has decreased, but the trafficking of methamphetamine into Kentucky still occurs. Caucasians are distributing "Ice" methamphetamine supplied from Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs).
  • The abuse and diversion of prescription drugs, particularly hydrocodone and oxycodone, remain one of, if not the, largest drug problem in southeastern Kentucky.
  • The availability of diverted pharmaceuticals in central and northern Kentucky remains high.
  • Cocaine is easily available in central and southeastern Kentucky.
  • Mexican DTOs are the main source of cocaine in Kansas, from the Southwest Border via regional distribution networks in the Midwest and the southeast.
  • There were 364 drug violation arrests in Kentucky in 2007. A statistic which has been on a steady rise for the past several years.

  • Cocaine is easily available in central and southeastern Kentucky.
  • Mexican DTOs are the top-level traffickers in Kentucky, and the main source of cocaine from the Southwest Border via cities in the Midwest and southeast.
  • Mexican DTOs supply cocaine to inner-city retail/street level distributors in Kentucky.
  • Mexican trafficking organizations in Kentucky use business fronts, such as restaurants and auto repair/detailing shops, to distribute and launder profits.
  • Inner-city DTOs in Kentucky also obtain large amounts of cocaine from non-Mexican DTOs via motor vehicles and parcel delivery services.
  • The price of cocaine in Kentucky increased during 2007. Gram quantities of Cocaine sell for $100, but ounce quantities increased from the $700-$1,200 range to the $900-$1,200 range, and kilogram quantities increased from the $16,000-$28,000 range to the $23,000-$26,000 range.
  • Cocaine purity levels in Kentucky are consistently in the 40 to 90 percent range.

  • Availability of heroin in Kentucky is limited, but the availability of Mexican Black Tar heroin has risen in the Louisville, Kentucky area.
  • There is a demand for small amounts of heroin in some areas of southeastern Kentucky.
  • Heroin has usually been found in user amounts in Kentucky, with the sources of supply from Atlanta, Georgia, or Chicago, Illinois.

  • Methamphetamine is widely available in central and southeastern Kentucky.
  • Primary suppliers of methamphetamine in Kentucky are Mexican DTOs.
  • There has been a decrease in meth laboratories/clandestine manufacturing in southeastern Kentucky and this is countered by importation of "ICE" methamphetamine from Mexico via the Southwest Border, Atlanta, Georgia, and Ashville, North Carolina.
  • Independent traffickers travel to Atlanta and other major cities along the Southwest Border to obtain pound amounts of Mexican produced methamphetamine and transport it back into southeastern Kentucky via private vehicles.
  • Small "Mom and Pop" and "Tweaker" operators continue to manufacture methamphetamine in small one to two ounce quantities for personal use and for distribution at the local level in Kentucky.
  • Methamphetamine lab incidents in Kentucky decreased from 343 in 2006 to 2in 2007 (as of January 2008).

  • The abuse of prescription drugs, primarily hydrocodone and oxycodone (Lortab, Lorcet, Vicodin and Oxycontin), remain one of, if not the, largest drug problem in southeastern Kentucky.
  • The availability of diverted pharmaceuticals in central and northern Kentucky remains high, but stable.
  • The availability of Oxycontin in southeastern Kentucky has risen due to the increased availability of pills transported from Midwest cities.
  • Primary methods of diversion of pharmaceuticals in Kentucky include pharmacy theft, "doctor shopping," prescription fraud, and purchasing large quantities of drugs from Internet pharmacies.
  • Drugs purchased via the Internet continues to have a significant impact on Kentucky. Purchasers have the drugs delivered to their homes using false names and/or different combinations of the same name.

  • Predatory drugs in southeastern Kentucky are limited in availability and usually confined to cities where colleges and/or universities are located.
  • MDMA, Ketamine, GHB, and LSD remain easily available in Kentucky and are mainly used by teenagers and young adults in the cities with colleges and universities, such as Lexington, Richmond, and Morehead.
  • The primary suppliers of MDMA in Kentucky are middle-class Caucasian males from 25 to years of age operating in a well-organized manner.
  • MDMA is transported into Kentucky via U.S. Mail from Miami, Cincinnati, Atlanta, and Los Angeles.
  • Distribution to users in Kentucky takes place at strip clubs, bars, Raves, and high school parties.
  • Ketamine is also distributed in nightclubs and bars in Kentucky.
  • Steroids in Kentucky are obtained from mail order companies, doctors, veterinary supply companies, and workout facilities.
  • GHB in Kentucky is obtained through the Internet and from local manufacturers.

  • Kentucky is a major source of domestically grown marijuana.
  • In 2007, Kentucky was second in total domestic marijuana production.
  • National Forest lands covering more than 690,000 acres of eastern Kentucky are remote, sparsely populated, very accessible, and possess ideal soil and climate conditions for cannabis cultivation.
  • Marijuana plots on National Forest lands, usually in the deforested areas, are found from the bottomlands to the hillsides and the tops of mountains of Kentucky.
  • Marijuana growers in Kentucky consider the rural areas of National Forest land as too spacious for law enforcement officials to detect their activities.
  • Growers of marijuana in Kentucky often plant their crops on public lands in an effort to protect themselves from personal and/or financial loss due to asset forfeiture procedures.
  • In 200a total of 64,869 marijuana plants were destroyed on National Forest land in Kentucky. National Forest lands suffer from the effects of marijuana cultivation. This includes property damage to natural resources, archaeological sites, and wildlife, including endangered species.
  • Marijuana cultivators in Kentucky have destroyed numerous trees, plants and fauna, as well as gates and fences to clear cultivation sites and drive vehicles to and from the marijuana plots.
  • More marijuana is cultivated in Kentucky than the local market can consume.
  • Marijuana grown in Kentucky is transported to the Midwest (Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan) and the East Coast.

State Policy Offices : Kentucky

  • Governor's Office Office of the Governor
    State Capitol, Room 100
    Frankfort, KY 40601
    (502) 564-2611
  • State Legislative Contact Legislative Research Commission
    State Capitol, Room 300
    Frankfort, KY 40601
    (502) 564-8100
  • State Drug Program Coordinator Champions Against Drugs
    612 B Shelby Street
    Frankfort, KY 40601
    (502) 564-7889

State Criminal Justice Offices : Kentucky

  • Attorney General's Office State Capitol, Room 116
    Frankfort, KY 40601
    (502) 564-7600
  • Law Enforcement Planning Kentucky Justice Cabinet
    Bush Building, Second Floor
    403 Wapping Street
    Frankfort, KY 40601
    (502) 564-7554
  • Statistical Analysis Center Office of the Attorney General
    State Capitol, Room 116
    Frankfort, KY 40601
    (502) 564-4002
  • Uniform Crime Reports Contact Uniform Crime Reports
    Records Section
    Kentucky State Police
    1250 Louisville Road
    Frankfort, KY 40601
    (502) 227-8700
  • BJA Strategy Preparation Agency Kentucky Justice Cabinet
    Division of Grants Management
    Bush Building, Second Floor
    403 Wapping Street
    Frankfort, KY 40601
    (502) 564-7554
  • Judicial Agency Administrative Office of the Courts
    Court of Justice
    100 Millcreek Park
    Frankfort, KY 40601-9230
    (502) 564-2350
  • Corrections Agency Corrections Cabinet
    State Office Building, Fifth Floor
    Holmes and High Streets
    Frankfort, KY 40601
    (502) 564-4726

State Health Offices : Kentucky

  • RADAR Network Agency Drug Information Service for Kentucky
    Division of Substance Abuse
    275 East Main Street
    Frankfort, KY 40621
    (502) 564-2880
  • HIV-Prevention Program Cabinet for Human Resources
    STD Control (CTS)
    275 East Main Street
    Frankfort, KY 40621
    (502) 564-4804
  • Drug and Alcohol Agency Division of Substance Abuse
    Cabinet for Human Resources
    Health Services Building
    275 East Main Street
    Frankfort, KY 40601
    (502) 564-2880

State Education Office : Kentucky

  • State Coordinator for Drug-Free Schools State Department of Education
    Alcohol/Drug Unit
    1720 Capitol Plaza Tower
    Frankfort, KY 40601
    (502) 564-6720

Kentucky: Substance Abuse Trends & Statistics

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Behavioral Health Barometer:

Kentucky: Substance Abuse Resources

Drug Rehab Kentucky Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy

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