Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Oregon may show the way for Kentucky in drug treatment

In facing up to its need for more drug-treatment facilities, Kentucky could learn some lessons from Oregon, Courier-Journal reporter Laura Ungar writes in the third and last part of her package of stories about drug treatment, or lack of it, in our state: "Oregon, like Kentucky, is a largely rural state with about 4 million people — and a substantial prescription-drug abuse problem. But Oregon has acted more quickly and aggressively to tackle treatment." She cites examples:

• Oregon is spending about $51 million annually on substance abuse treatment, $11 million more than six years ago. "Kentucky’s Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities spends $29 million a year , and hasn’t increased that amount in more than a decade."

• Medicaid, the federally subsidized health-insurance program for the poor and disabled, covers substance abuse treatment in Oregon, "while Kentucky, with a few exceptions, does not."
• Oregon admits more than twice as many addicts for treatment, and "Oregonians are much more likely to receive intensive treatment: "10 percent of treatment admissions were to long-term, residential facilities, compared with 1.1 percent in Kentucky."
• Kentucky had a much higher rate of deaths from drug overdoses in 2008, the most recent year available — 17.9 per 100,000 compared with 11.7. "Health experts say effective treatment leads to fewer overdoses." (Read more)

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