According to the CDC, there has been a significant increase in drug overdose deaths nationally. In 2016, Kentucky ranked in the top five states with drug overdoses; and opioids have been a main driver. This is important because demographic groups who have historically been low risk for using opioids are now using these drugs. Following this upward trend, there has also been a rise in sexually transmitted infections (STI), according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, specifically HIV and Hepatitis B and C. Because Kentucky ranks highly, this study explores possible reasons why STI and Drug Overdose rates have increased. The purpose of this analysis is to discover what similarities or differences exist in social indicators of health in counties that rank in the top ten (best) and bottom ten (worst) in health factors. This will be done through a five-year analysis of secondary data available from the County Health Rankings as well as county level data from hospitals and police records. The results of this study show an upward trend in drug overdose and HIV rates as well as a statistically significant difference in the healthy counties having more educated people, higher percentage of insured people and less child poverty. Findings from this study are likely to contribute to the call of Public Health 3.0 to make long lasting improvements in health through facilitating cross-sectoral collaborations.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 5-11-2018


Michelyn W. Bhandari

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Health Promotion and Administration

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Health Promotion and Administration