The "Horse Capital of the World" is located right in the heart of Kentucky's Bluegrass Region. With a population of 308 thousand and a metropolitan area population of 489 thousand it is also Kentucky's second largest city.
Since the 18th century, Lexington has been known as a major center for Thoroughbred breeding. This is due to the high calcium content in the soils of the Bluegrass Region which gives their horses stronger bones and greater durability.
There are two horse racing tracks, The Red Mile and Keeneland. The Red Mile is the oldest racing track in the city and second oldest in the nation and Keeneland is has its tracks rooted deep in history and tradition with almost no changes since the track's opening in 1936.
Lexington is also home to the Kentucky Horse Park which opened in 1978, a late comer comparatively speaking. It mostly serves as a tourist attraction and museum, but is also a working horse farm with a farrier and is home to retired horses such as "Cigar" and "Funny Cide". Since its opening it has hosted the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event, one of the top three annual equestrian event competitions in the world that is held immediately before the Kentucky Derby.
Since 1958 Lexington has been protecting area horse farms from over development through the city's Urban Growth Boundary which sets strict rules on what can be developed where to make sure that they can both grow as a city while also maintaining the character of the surrounding horse farms that gave the region its identity.
Kentucky's Drug and Alcohol Programs Get Boost from New Bill:
Lexington, as well as the state of Kentucky as a whole, has an epidemic of heroin use that has been tearing apart communities and families everywhere. Now the General Assembly nears resolution on legislation on a new bill sponsored by state representative Leslie Combs that looks to change things by broadening the state's licensing program for alcohol and drug counselors.
House Bill 92 will address main points in bringing more counselors to the state. It will work to encourage more professionals to pursue this career as well as making it easier for former addicts to enlist as a counselor so that they can use their experience to help others. In 1996 the state established the professional requirement for certification in the field of drug and alcohol counselors, but House Bill 92 will now set three levels:
- Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor: A new certification that requires a Master's Degree, specific education in addiction counseling and three years of experience in addiction treatment. For those who meet the education requirements but don't have the required 2 thousand hours of experience there is an associate license in this category.
- Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor: This is the current certification that requires a four year college degree and supervised experience.
- Registered Alcohol and Drug Peer Support Specialist: This certification requires a high school degree, 500 hours of approved experience working with addicts, 60 hours of approved education and two or more years of being in recovery from substance abuse yourself.
The new classifications is expected to draw more people to the profession which means that more support for addicts will be available. Representative Leslie Combs said:
“Our goal is to bring in more people who may have different education and experience levels but still have the same goal: to help our citizens overcome their addictions."
Surge in Treatment of Babies for Drug Addiction Withdrawal Seen by Kentucky Doctors:
Adults who go through drug withdrawal experience excessive crying, tremors, stiffness, diarrhea and seizures commonly. Wynemia Hale's infant experienced the same symptoms.
Sheena was 5 pounds 9 ounces when she was born in September. She was treated for NAS, neonatal abstinence syndrome, at the University of Kentucky Children's Hospital. Her mother Wynemia had had a history of drug abuse and was taking Subutex, a prescription painkiller, throughout her pregnancy. She was told that the drug would have very little effect on her daughter but the actual effects were much more severe.
Sheena was born into drug withdrawal and she is not the only one. The growing rate of babies being born with NAS is causing medical personnel to call it an epidemic and label it a public health care crisis. They are urging communities and city and state officials to address the situation. The NAS unit discharged 130 babies in 2012, 154 in 2013 and in 2014 the number rose again to 204 and these are only the numbers from the University of Kentucky Children's Hospital NAS unit. The newborns are staying in the unit for an average of 19 to 21 days in order to get them safely through treatment. The statewide numbers have been in a sharp climb over a twelve year period with only 67 babies hospitalized for drug withdrawal in 2001 up to 955 in 2013.
Although doctors are confident in their ability to help and treat the babies in most cases, they believe that what is really important at this time is treatment for the families that are suffering from addiction. By addressing the issue at its cause they will be able to start bringing the number of babies with NAS down.
One way to start addressing the problem is to really educate expectant mothers on any and all dangers associated with prescription drugs while pregnant. Often times these dangers are watered down by the classification system used such as with Subutex which is given a pregnancy risk of "Category C (Risk cannot be ruled out)". Although this statement is true, it implies that the risk is negligible.
Lexington Drug Rehab:
Whether you are dealing with heroin addiction or alcohol addiction, whether you are pregnant or not, the risks associated with addiction are far too great to be overlooked. If there is someone in your life that is dealing with addiction, doing whatever it takes to get them into recovery is time well spent.
Addiction treatment centers are available throughout Lexington and Kentucky and only a phone call away.