FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 20, 2021) - Today, Gov. Andy Beshear and Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Kerry Harvey announced $188,784 in grant funding to the Family Nurturing Center in Florence to help ensure Kentucky children negatively impacted by parental addiction have access to legal services, community resources and therapeutic services.
“The nationwide addiction crisis has taken a toll on Kentucky’s families. It is threatening the safety of our communities and health of our children,” said Gov. Beshear. “Every day we are losing more loved ones to this horrible disease, and our children deserve better. Every dollar my administration awards through grant funding is another step toward freeing our children, and all Kentuckians, from abuse and addiction once and for all.”
The ongoing pandemic has greatly impacted opioid deaths in the commonwealth. According to the Office of the Drug Control Policy (ODCP), in Kentucky there were at least 1,964 drug-related deaths in the 12-month period ending December 2020, a 49% increase over the previous year.
“Now more than ever, we must invest in evidence-based prevention strategies if we are going to make progress in the fight against the drug epidemic,” said Secretary Harvey. “Prevention is a powerful tool and hopefully this funding will help youth in Northern Kentucky make healthy choices and not fall prey to addiction.”
The awarded funding is through the Enhancing Community Responses to the Opioid Crisis: Serving our Youngest Crime Victims Project, a pilot project within Northern Kentucky’s Campbell, Kenton and Boone counties. This grant opportunity provides additional federal funding for the commonwealth to develop, implement or expand comprehensive programs to directly provide services to children and youth who are crime victims as a result of the nation’s addiction crisis.
The Family Nurturing Center will use the awarded funding to hire a full-time therapist to provide evidence-based interventions to children preschool-age through age 18, who identify familial addiction as a primary factor contributing to their referral. The project will be a collaboration between the Family Nurturing Center and the Children’s Law Center.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet and Children’s Law Center to support the youngest victims of the opioid crisis. This funding allows us to provide trauma-informed counseling to children whose parents are addicted. Many of these children were exposed in utero, witnessed their parents overdosing or were left in unsafe situations. Specialized, evidence-based services will help these young victims heal from trauma and build resilience to keep them from repeating the cycle,” said Family Nurturing Center Executive Director Jane Herms.
The funding for the Office for Victims of Crime Enhancing Community Responses to the Opioid Crisis: Serving Our Youngest Crime Victims project is administered by the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet’s Grants Management Division, and applications are accepted through the electronic grants management software. Sub-awards for funding are predominately granted to eligible legal service providers and nonprofit agencies that support the goals and objectives identified in Kentucky’s project plan.
State Efforts to Support Treatment and Recovery
Since taking office, the Beshear-Coleman administration has been committed to combating the opioid epidemic, and over the past year, has awarded grant funding across the commonwealth to increase access to treatment services and recovery programs. State efforts include programs targeted at reducing addiction, preventing re-incarceration, increasing the distribution of the lifesaving drug naloxone and removing barriers to treatment.
Recently, Gov. Beshear announced that through a collaborative effort between state government, health care and the business community, the commonwealth had launched a new initiative to help employers address addiction, boost hiring and retention and support employees in the workplace. The initiative, known as the Kentucky Transformational Employment Program, is the result of legislation signed into law by the Governor following the passage of Senate Bill 191 in 2020.
On Aug. 31, Gov. Beshear joined a bipartisan group of state and community leaders to recognize Overdose Awareness Day. As part of the observance, the Governor proclaimed Aug. 31 as Overdose Awareness Day in Kentucky and directed flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff from sunrise until sunset that day. The Governor encouraged individuals, businesses and organizations throughout the commonwealth to join in this tribute. Gov. Beshear also lit the Governor’s Mansion purple to acknowledge the grief felt by families and friends as the commonwealth remembered those who died or suffered a permanent injury as a result of a drug overdose.
On Aug. 23, Gov. Beshear and Secretary Harvey announced that a total of almost $1.2 million in grant funding had been awarded from the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Comprehensive Opioid and Stimulant Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP) to Kentucky entities to implement a collaborative project creating pathways to recovery and healing for those who have been negatively impacted by opioids, stimulants and substance abuse.
In June 2021, Gov. Beshear announced more than $570,000 in COSSAP grant funding had been awarded to the Jeffersontown Police Department and Access to Justice Commission to develop a variety of treatment options and provide the commonwealth with another resource tool to end the devastating drug epidemic.
In February 2021, the Beshear administration announced $4.6 million in grant funding to expand treatment and recovery services, including those for mothers and pregnant women with opioid addiction, and an additional $1.4 million to assist state and local law enforcement with efforts to prevent or reduce crime and violence and address drug trafficking in their communities.
An additional step the Governor took this past year to help provide treatment to those fighting substance use and to keep those in recovery on the path toward healing was signing House Bill 7. The new law helps to ensure communities are recovery-ready by having resources in place, such as employment, transportation, recovery meetings and support groups.
The KY Help Call Center, created in 2017 through a partnership with Operation UNITE, remains available to those with a substance use disorder, or their friends or family members, as a quick resource to information on treatment options and open slots among treatment providers. Individuals may call 833-8KY-HELP (833-859-4357) to speak one-on-one with a specialist who will connect them with treatment as quickly as possible.
The Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health manages a vital website, www.findhelpnowky.org, for Kentucky health care providers, court officials, families and individuals seeking options for substance abuse treatment and recovery. It offers real-time information about available space in treatment programs, and guides users to the right type of treatment for their needs. The site provides a search engine for drug treatment, helping users locate treatment providers based on location, facility type and category of treatment needed.
The Kentucky State Police (KSP) Angel Initiative is a proactive program designed to help people battle addiction. Anyone suffering from a substance use disorder can visit one of KSP’s 16 posts located throughout the commonwealth to be paired with a local officer who will assist with locating an appropriate treatment program. The Angel Initiative is completely voluntary, and individuals will not be arrested or charged with any violations if they agree to participate in treatment. For more information about the Angel Initiative, visit the KSP website.
ODCP continues to work diligently with several agencies throughout the commonwealth, including Kentucky Opioid Response Effort, Kentucky Pharmacists Association, Department of Corrections and CHFS to successfully increase the distribution of naloxone (Narcan). To access naloxone or for more resources on how to respond to an overdose, click here or here.
For a video from Gov. Beshear on available treatment and resources, and the importance of knowing how to respond to an overdose, click here.