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Carter County community invests in opioid abatement through the arts


Following a 2022 settlement with multiple major pharmaceutical producers, Kentucky’s counties and cities are set to receive $239 million, paid in installments through 2038. Now, county officials are deciding on how to use their share of these opioid abatement funds.

The Olive Hill Center for Arts and Heritage will receive $80,000 of opioid settlement funds to go toward current and future programs and events, approved by the Carter County Fiscal Court.

Brandon Burton is the Carter County Judge Executive. He said as he has learned more about opioid abatement and prevention, he recognized the importance of community engagement programs like the Center for Arts and Heritage.

“What the programs were doing, was real opportunities. Such as developing these kids as far as what programs they were going to offer. Just highlighting violin lessons, orchestra, piano, art classes, I think they’ve got a community theatre program,” said Burton. “They did some poetry. They had forty people show up for a basket weaving.”

Burton said he aims to open more doors to people seeking recovery, like employment and community involvement.

“I’m hoping for maybe more of a chain reaction with what will happen because we have Genesis here, and we have Pathways. And we’re looking and maybe starting the process of what we can do as far as recovery, people that are in recovery, of being able to maybe do some part-time jobs for them. When these programs are offered around, then I’m just hoping that’ll work as a revolving door for our county,” said Burton.

Burton said the process of getting the funds for the Arts and Heritage Center through review boards was a lengthy one, but he said both traditional and non-traditional recovery initiatives are vital to the community.

The Olive Hill Center for Arts and Heritage offers free music and arts programs for youth in the region. More information is available online at the Olive Hill Center for Arts and Heritage Facebook page.