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Criminal Justice


Grace Telesco


Over the last 7 years, there has been an alarming increase in the number of opioid overdose fatalities in Jefferson County, Kentucky. The increase has occurred despite Kentucky’s passage of a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) as defined by House Bill 1 (HB1) in 2012. Following the passage of Kentucky’s PDMP, heroin and fentanyl surpassed other prescription drugs as the most identified drugs in overdose deaths in Kentucky. Little is known about how the implementation of a PDMP influences the overall opioid overdose fatality rate. The purpose of this quantitative research, using a quasi-experimental design, was to evaluate the relationship between the implementation of Kentucky’s PDMP and a documented rise in heroin and fentanyl overdose fatalities. Rational choice theory was the theoretical framework for this study. Data regarding prescribing rates and opioid mortality rates were collected from an online database published by the Centers for Disease Control. Interrupted time-series analyses were used to analyze the data. Regarding prescription opioids, heroin, and synthetic opioids, results indicated that overall opioid fatality rates increased dramatically after the implementation of HB1. The results of this study provide increased knowledge for policymakers, which may ultimately lead to a decrease in opioid overdose fatality rates.

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