On Monday, January 6, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and Governor Steve Beshear announced that they will be using $32 million recovered in settlements from pharmaceutical companies to fund 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 a press conference. "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."
One organization that will immediately make use of the funds is Recovery Kentucky, as $500,000 will be used to construct the group's 17th rehabilitation center in Ashland. Recovery Kentucky facilities use a peer-based model where addicts in various stages of recovery work together to maintain a sober lifestyle.
The settlement also provides $2.5 million in scholarships for individuals who seek treatment at Recovery Kentucky centers, but could not otherwise afford to be in the program. Over the next two years, 840 scholarships will be made available.
The majority of the settlement funds – $19 million – will be dedicated to helping juvenile addicts. The state plans to add more beds at current prescription addiction treatment facilities and create new centers that are focused on getting teens out of the cycle of addiction and helping them succeed emotionally and academically.