Kentucky continues strong momentum in fight against opioid epidemic
Media Contact: Nicole Burton
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 16, 2019) – Gov. Matt Bevin today announced a new statewide public awareness effort to continue the Commonwealth's historic momentum in combating the opioid epidemic. The Governor's Office, in collaboration with the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet's (JPSC) Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP), is launching the "Hope and Help" initiative to provide vital resources to individuals struggling with substance use disorder.
The initiative was announced at the 2019 "Walk for Recovery" — a celebration that featured more than 300 individuals who are winning their battles against addiction marching to the State Capitol building in Frankfort.
“As we continue our unrelenting fight against substance use disorder, we want to ensure that all Kentuckians have ready access to both HOPE and HELP,” said Gov. Bevin. “Our Administration remains committed to strong partnership with legislators, law enforcement officers and healthcare professionals, as we allocate unprecedented resources to combat this scourge and save lives. Even as we make historic progress against this insidious enemy, we must stand united to deliver both HOPE and HELP, supporting families and communities fighting to break the cycle of addiction."
A new user-friendly, interactive website — HopeAndHelpKY.com — features powerful testimonials of hope and links to real-time access to help through Kentucky-based addiction treatment providers.
“This administration has poured unprecedented resources into fighting the opioid crisis, and we’ve made tremendous breakthroughs that have saved hundreds of lives,” said Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley. “But we still have work to do. We want every family in the Commonwealth to know hope and help is available through these resources. Recovery is possible — and it’s happening every day across our state.”
This new initiative follows the Commonwealth's previous "Don't Let Them Die" campaign, which saw Kentucky make significant strides in fighting the opioid epidemic. In July, ODCP announced that drug overdose fatalities by Kentuckians decreased by nearly 15 percent (233 fewer deaths) from 2017 to 2018 — the first such decline since 2013.
“We must build on our momentum and continue to spread the word,” said Van Ingram, director of the Office of Drug Control Policy. “We want to empower every Kentucky citizen with the knowledge and resources to combat this crisis within the home and on the ground. Hope is here and we are ready to help.”
Over the past three and a half years, the Bevin Administration has made attacking the opioid crisis a top priority, advancing a series of programs and policy initiatives to improve access to treatment and save lives.
Gov. Bevin and the General Assembly have significantly increased funding for the state’s drug response efforts, allocating a record $79 million over the past two budget cycles.
The Governor and lawmakers also collaborated on House Bill 333, which limits opioid prescriptions for acute pain to a three-day supply unless a doctor provides written justification for a larger amount.
Last year, the Kentucky State Police launched the Angel Initiative. Anyone suffering from a substance use disorder can now visit a KSP post and be paired with a local officer who will assist with locating an appropriate treatment program. The Kentucky Department of Corrections (DOC) is currently undertaking a comprehensive overhaul of substance abuse programming, incorporating additional tools and options for clinicians and inmates. DOC is hiring additional treatment clinicians to provide services both inside and outside prison walls, and is providing dedicated treatment staff at Probation and Parole offices.
In April, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded more than $87 million for Kentucky CAN HEAL (Communities and Networks Helping End Addiction Long-term) — a partnership between the University of Kentucky’s Center on Drug and Alcohol Research (CDAR), the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. The project will fund a comprehensive four-year study aimed at reducing opioid overdose deaths by 40 percent in 16 counties that represent more than one-third of Kentucky’s population.
The Kentucky Opioid Response Effort (KORE), administered by CHFS is implementing a targeted response to Kentucky’s opioid crisis by expanding access to a full continuum of high quality, evidence-based opioid prevention, treatment, recovery, and harm reduction services and supports in high-risk geographic regions of the state.
In addition to the resources available at HopeAndHelpKY.com, individuals seeking support can call 1-8338-KYHELP.