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Major Money Marked for Addiction Treatment in Kentucky

The Commonwealth of Kentucky has long suffered from a prescription drug abuse and methamphetamine problem, and heroin use has also been on the rise recently. As a result, more than $32 million is being set aside to help address the growing substance abuse problem in Kentucky. The much-needed funds are a result of settlements with two pharmaceutical companies, according to Attorney General Jack Conway.

The money could not come at a better time. According to a University of Kentucky study, Kentucky has only one-tenth of the substance abuse treatment beds it needs to meet demand. Now that mental health and substance use disorder services are covered by the Affordable Care Act as “essential health services,” diagnosis and treatment for these problems will no doubt see a steady rise in the years ahead. Providers of these services should prepare for an influx of patients and will hopefully now have more resources at their disposal for the proper care and treatment of this at-risk population.

The majority of the funds, approximately $19 million, will be used to start a grant program for juvenile treatment programs. Beds at existing facilities will increase to support these programs, which will offer a variety of treatment options, including intensive outpatient and follow-up centers. The remainder of the funds will be used in the following ways:

  • $2.5 million will be used to fund scholarships for people seeking help at treatment centers;
  • $1 million will be used to create substance abuse treatment programs for pregnant women at the Chrysalis House and Independence House;
  • $1 million will be used to develop a school-based substance abuse screening tool with the Kentucky Department of Education;
  • $560,000 will be used to create fourteen drug-free homes for people transitioning out of residential substance abuse programs;
  • $500,000 will be used to complete construction of a drug-addition recovery center in Boyd County.

Providers should be especially happy with the $6 million that will be used to administer and upgrade KASPER. In addition, the University of Kentucky is receiving $1.5 million to develop best practices for juvenile substance abuse treatment providers.

This settlement money has the potential to bring real benefit to mental health and substance use disorder service providers across the state; the recipients of these services may now have more hope that they can conquer their addictions.

This article is intended as a summary of federal and state law and does not constitute legal advice.

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