More than $32 million won in settlements with two pharmaceutical companies will be used throughout the state to help expand and increase substance abuse treatment, Attorney General Jack Conway announced Monday with Governor Steve Beshear, and House Speaker Greg Stumbo.
“Attacking prescription drug abuse demands a holistic strategy that includes robust treatment efforts. This expansion of treatment availability will make an incredible impact on individuals, families, and communities suffering from the impact of substance abuse and addiction,” Beshear said. “For thousands of Kentuckians, this expansion will offer an opportunity to restore their health and return to productive lives.”
The settlement will provide $500,000 to finish construction on a Recovery Kentucky Center in Ashland, where addicts at different stages of recovery help one another and work together to get and stay sober, and $2.5 million in scholarships will be awarded for the 17 centers in the state for those seeking treatment in the next two years. Nearly $19 million will also be used to start a grant program to fund comprehensive juvenile substance abuse treatment programs.
“We’ve done a tremendous job in Kentucky working together to tackle the problem of prescription drug abuse from a law enforcement perspective,” Conway said. “At the end of the day, we must increase access to treatment if we’re going to stop the cycle of addiction. These settlement funds will expand treatment for youth and adults throughout the Commonwealth.”
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Kentucky currently only has one-tenth the treatment beds needed.
“As chair of the Recovery Kentucky task force, I am pleased that these settlement funds will allow hundreds of Kentuckians to benefit from newly available scholarships and drug-free housing. Recovering from addiction is a process that intersects every part of a person’s life, and effective treatment provides the tools to help them interact with others, keep a job, and keep a roof over their heads,” First Lady Jane Beshear said.
The settlement will also, over the next two years, give $6 million to administer and upgrade KASPER, the state’s electronic prescription drug monitoring program, $1 million to develop a school-based substance abuse screening tool with the Kentucky Department of Education to intervene with at-risk youth, and, among other things, $250,000 to create a database to evaluate outcomes of juvenile treatment.
“This money will go a long way in helping Kentucky’s ongoing efforts to provide treatment options for drug abuse,” Stumbo said. “I am especially pleased that a sizable portion will be used to help juveniles and to provide needed funding for the KASPER program.”