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Gov. Beshear Announces Funding Plan to Curb Heroin Use

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Governor Steve Beshear  took another step to build upon the success of the 2015 landmark anti-heroin legislation he signed by announcing the funding of eight programs aimed at fighting and treating heroin use and substance abuse in Kentucky.

The $10 million in funding is part of Senate Bill 192, bipartisan legislation passed in this year’s legislative session aimed at curbing the rise in heroin use and opioid addiction.

The programs funded by the measure range from assistance to addicted mothers of newborns to treatment programs in jails and prisons.

“Throughout my administration I have worked with law enforcement and health advocates to enhance treatment options for heroin users,” Gov. Beshear said. “This funding provision in Senate Bill 192 maximizes our resources and provides multiple opportunities for a broad reach of programming and support services throughout the Commonwealth. I want to again thank lawmakers for partnering with us and passing a robust and comprehensive anti-heroin package that attacks the spectrum of heroin abuse in Kentucky.”

Besides the $10 million in funds for the eight programs, SB 192 offers multiple tactics to reduce the trafficking and abuse of heroin. Traffickers will face stiffer penalties, particularly if heroin is transported across state lines. A “good Samaritan” provision gives users legal immunity if they report an overdose victim. The measure also authorizes more use of the anti-overdose drug naloxone, and allows communities the option of setting up needle exchanges.

The legislation tasks the Justice and Public Safety secretary with apportioning the $10 million in funds in fiscal year 2016, which starts July 1.

“After reviewing proposals and meeting with stakeholders, I’m confident this outline creates a balanced approach among the eight program areas called for in Senate Bill 192,” Justice Secretary J. Michael Brown said.

Secretary Brown presented his plan today to the legislative Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary.

Funding recommendations include up to:

•$1 million to the Department of Corrections (DOC) for substance abuse treatment programs for county inmates in local jails.

•$500,000 to expand substance abuse treatment programs for state inmates in local jails.

•$1.5 million to DOC for an injectable, Food and Drug Administration-approved extended-release treatment program to prevent an opiate relapse as offenders are released from custody.

•$2.6 million for grants to community mental health centers to fund additional substance abuse treatment resources on a local level.

•$1 million to address neonatal abstinence syndrome by assisting with transitional care and wrap-around services.

•$1.2 million to the Department for Public Advocacy (DPA) to fully fund DPA’s social worker program, for the purpose of developing individualized alternative sentencing plans.

•$1.2 million to the Prosecutors Advisory Council to enhance the use of “rocket docket” prosecutions in controlled substance cases.

•$1 million to the Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Policy or KY-ASAP to supplement traditional programming.

I was glad to see these recommendations brought forth by the Justice Cabinet,” said Sen. Chris McDaniel, of Taylor Mill. “I look forward to working with Secretary Brown to ensure final utilization of these dollars go toward individuals impacted by this epidemic.”

“I was proud to offer the amendment in the House that set the stage for including this money in the final bill,” said Rep. Sannie Overly, of Paris. “It was abundantly clear that we could not wait another year to start these programs. Under the plan Secretary Brown offered today, I’m confident we have the right strategy, and the necessary funding, to make a major difference when it comes to reversing the state’s heroin epidemic.”

(story courtesy of Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office)

Paul Hitchcock earned his Masters in Communications from Morehead State University and Bachelors in Radio-TV/Psychology from Georgetown College. A veteran broadcaster for more than 40 years and an avid fan of blues, jazz and American roots music. Hitchcock has been with WMKY since 1986 and was named General Manager in 2003. He currently hosts "Muddy Bottom Blues" (Fri., 8pm-9pm), "Nothin' But The Blues" (Sat., 8pm-12am), "Sunday Night Jazz Showcase" and "Live From The Jazz Lounge" (Sun., 8pm-9pm) and "The Golden Age of Radio" (Sun., 2pm-3pm). He also serves as producer for "A Time For Tales" and "The Reader's Notebook."
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