Lexington Herald Leader
Kentucky’s use of narcotics is no secret, but a new study by Millennium Health shows how rampant it is compared to the rest of the country.
The study shows Kentucky has the highest percentage of fentanyl-positive drug tests in the country, and the state’s cocaine, meth and heroin use is also among the highest in the U.S.
Millennium Health came to its conclusions by analyzing more than 1 million urine drug tests, it said in its report. Some of the tests came back negative for the four drugs they tested for, but fentanyl was found in 16.2 percent of the drug tests in Kentucky, according to the report.
Ohio (13.6 percent), Maryland (13.0) and Maine (10.1) were the only states whose specimens had at least 10 percent positivity for fentanyl, the study shows.
Kentucky was also in the top 10 in cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin positivity rates. The study showed that 20.3 percent of the Kentucky specimens tested positive for meth and 4.0 percent tested positive for heroin, each ranking fourth in the U.S. Kentucky ranked seventh for its cocaine rates, with 7.1 percent of the specimens testing positive for the drug.
The percentage of patients testing positive for fentanyl has risen substantially in Kentucky’s region since 2015. Just 1.13 percent of specimens tested positive for it in 2015; by 2019, that rate had risen to 9.05 percent in the East South Central region, which also includes Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama.
The change in percentage (698.31 percent since 2015) marks the highest jump for any drug in any region during the time frame.
National drug use in Millennium Health’s annual study continues to rise. In 2015, around 3 percent of specimens tested positive for meth, and it’s now nearly 10 percent — nearly double every other drug. Fentanyl use has also increased substantially since 2015, while testing positive for cocaine and heroin has declined.
The full study can be found on Millennium Health’s website.