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Gov. Beshear Encourages Kentucky Communities To Strengthen Fight Against Drug Epidemic

Berry Craig
19 Jan, 2023
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Applications open for Recovery Ready Communities program 

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 19, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that applications are open for Kentucky communities to apply for Recovery Ready certification.

“One life lost to drug overdose is too many, and we must continue to commit ourselves to doing everything we can to help not just those struggling with addiction, but their families and communities as well,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “The Recovery Ready Communities program gives communities the opportunity to identify gaps in their addiction treatment services and fill them.”

In June 2022, Gov. Beshear announced the creation of the Recovery Ready Communities program. Since then, the Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP), the Advisory Council for Recovery Ready Communities and Volunteers of America Mid-States (VOA) have created a certification program for communities across the commonwealth. Communities are eligible to apply for this certification, which measures their services to residents who are seeking help for drug or alcohol addiction in three different categories: prevention, treatment and recovery support.

Upon application, communities will undergo an evaluation process, including a site visit and assessment from VOA staff, who will then make a recommendation to the Advisory Council for a decision on certification. Communities that are not initially designated as Recovery Ready will receive an explanation for the denial as well as an offer of technical assistance from VOA to help formulate new programs or interventions necessary to achieve certification. Once improvements are made, communities are encouraged to reapply and get certified. There is no application deadline. The advisory council will certify communities on a rolling basis.

“Drug addiction must be treated as what it is – an illness, not a crime – and this program is a crucial step in making this transition in the commonwealth,” said ODCP Executive Director Van Ingram. “The Recovery Ready Communities program ensures that Kentuckians have the chance to get well in a safe space around people who will work for them and with them. State government cannot do this alone, however, and VOA is the perfect partner for this endeavor.”

Continuing Gov. Beshear’s commitment to reducing barriers to workforce participation, Recovery Ready Communities certification also expands on his October and November announcements, which improve health in critical areas and help inmates find jobs upon release. Recovery Ready certification encourages communities to provide transportation to and from employment services and job interviews, allowing Kentuckians to make positive changes in their lives while filling much needed jobs and contributing to the commonwealth’s record-breaking economic development.

“The Recovery Ready Communities Advisory Council unanimously approved the guidelines related to the certification program. Kentuckians should be proud of the work the council has done to establish these guidelines that will help create safer communities and lead to a highly skilled community workforce,” said Pam Darnall, chair of the Advisory Council for Recovery Ready Communities.

“Volunteers of America Mid-States is thrilled to assist in the launch of the Recovery Ready Communities certification program. This transformational initiative represents the very best of Kentucky, namely neighbors coming together to support one another and face down the greatest threat to public health and safety of our time,” said VOA Mid-States President and CEO Jennifer Hancock, LCSW. “Our team stands ready to recognize and bolster the efforts of local leaders, community advocates, and treatment professionals in their struggle to protect all Kentuckians from the myriad of harms caused by substance use disorder.”

To learn more about the program and apply for certification as a Recovery Ready Community, local government leaders can email info@rrcky.org.

Commitment to Improving Access to Addiction Treatment and Services 
A few weeks ago, Gov. Beshear announced he was taking steps to make sure settlement funds with pharmaceutical companies get to communities impacted by the opioid epidemic. As the previous attorney general, Beshear was the most aggressive attorney general in the country in filing lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

Through partnerships across state government, including the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the administration is diligently working to provide wider and easier access to recovery, reduce addiction and prevent reincarceration to offenders. These programs will help continue the fight against the drug epidemic in the state of Kentucky while providing help for those who need it.

In September, Gov. Beshear announced nearly $2 million in grant funding from the federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant. These funds provide much needed resources for law enforcement agencies and nonprofit agencies throughout Kentucky’s 120 counties to enhance public safety and create a better, safer commonwealth for future generations.

During the 2022 legislative session, Gov. Beshear worked with a bipartisan group of state leaders to act on recommendations made by Pew Charitable Trusts on how to best address the opioid crisis. This includes signing Senate Bill 90 into law to provide eligible individuals an alternative to receive treatment for a behavioral health disorder instead of incarceration, expand recovery-ready housing and expand access to treatment for pregnant and parenting people in rural areas.

Additionally, the Governor took legislative action to help those suffering from an addiction who are not in a position to seek help for themselves. Casey’s Law, signed in 2004, has helped more than 6,000 Kentuckians battling addiction by allowing families and loved ones to seek a court order for involuntary treatment for anyone who is fighting addiction and refuses treatment on their own. Gov. Beshear signed House Bill 362 in April to expand on the benefit of Casey’s Law by permitting the court to determine if an individual should be ordered to undergo treatment for a substance use disorder beyond a reasonable doubt. At this time, the court shall order treatment for a specific amount of time. If the individual fails to undergo treatment, they will be held in contempt of court.

Then in April, Gov. Beshear and ODCP announced $4.9 million in grants to expand treatment and recovery services to offer comprehensive treatment and recovery services to pregnant and parenting people. This funding will not only help parents recover from opioid addiction but will also address Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, a condition caused by an infant going through drug withdrawal.

Treatment Resources 

Call the KY Help Call Center at 833-8KY-HELP (833-859-4357) to speak one-on-one with a specialist who can connect Kentuckians to treatment.

Visit findhelpnowky.org to find information about available space in treatment programs and providers based on location, facility type and category of treatment needed.

Visit the KSP website to find one of KSP’s 16 posts where those suffering from addiction can 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 a video from Gov. Beshear on available treatment and resources, and the importance of knowing how to respond to an overdose, click here.