FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 18, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that Boyle County has been designated as a Recovery Ready Community for its commitment to providing residents with access to addiction treatment and recovery support and removing barriers to the workforce. The county is the first to be approved for certification since the administration announced that applications were open in January, but more communities are soon to follow.
“Boyle County has set a strong precedent that can serve as a model for the rest of Kentucky’s communities,” Gov. Beshear said. “I continue to encourage each of the commonwealth’s counties and communities to apply for certification. If we work together to build a safer, healthier commonwealth, we can rise above drug and alcohol addiction in our state once and for all.”
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 Boyle County for certification for successfully establishing community-based infrastructure to combat addiction and support long-term recovery.
Boyle County’s commitment to being recovery ready and supporting its over 30,000 residents is a model for communities across the commonwealth. Collaboration between the city and county governments has increased successful treatment outcomes and is boosting workforce participation and saving county taxpayers money.
These efforts include providing free community overdose response training and Narcan distribution. Additionally, the county Emergency Medical Services (EMS) hired a social worker as an opioid outreach coordinator to accompany EMS on calls for service involving suspected drug overdoses to connect the individuals with treatment, counseling and other addiction support services.
“When we came face to face with the effects of the opioid crisis on our families, institutions and workforce, we got to work to be informed, responsive and proactive. We started a Harm Reduction Syringe Exchange Program. We took a hard look at our jail becoming a place of rehabilitation. We encouraged new treatment and transitional living providers to come to Boyle County, and we trained a lot of citizens in saving lives from overdoses,” said Boyle County Judge/Executive Trille L. Bottom. “Receiving this certification validates what has been done so far, but it also pushes us to stay the course in addressing the ongoing needs and issues around substance-use disorders. Our work is not finished, and may never be, but it’s very good to know that we’re moving in the right direction.”
“We are inspired by Boyle County’s commitment to continue strengthening its local recovery-oriented system of care through persistent cross-agency collaboration and a willingness to try innovative programs and interventions aimed at increasing positive public health and safety outcomes,” said Recovery Ready Communities Advisory Council Chair Pam Darnall.
To learn more about the program and apply for certification as a Recovery Ready Community, click here.
Improving Access to Addiction Treatment and Services
Through partnerships across state government, including with the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the Beshear administration is diligently working to provide wider and easier access to recovery, to reduce addiction and to prevent reincarceration to offenders. These programs will help continue the fight against the drug epidemic in the commonwealth while providing help for those who need it.
Before becoming Governor, Beshear was the most aggressive attorney general in the country in filing lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors. At the end of 2022, Gov. Beshear announced he was taking steps to make sure the settlement funds with pharmaceutical companies that he initially sued would get to communities impacted by the opioid epidemic.
Under the Governor’s leadership, more than $80.6 million is expected to be awarded by the state’s Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP) to help support addiction treatment and prevention efforts across the commonwealth.
Last week, Gov. Beshear announced that Kentucky’s Counterdrug Program seized 142 pounds of fentanyl over seven months that could have caused almost certain death for more than 28.9 million people. The Governor then moved to continue the team’s work of disrupting the supply of illicit drugs in the commonwealth by signing the fiscal year 2024 State Drug Interdiction and Counterdrug Activities Plan. Support is provided to multiple state, local and federal agencies in the plan’s team, including Kentucky State Police (KSP), Kentucky National Guard, Appalachian High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, Homeland Security Investigations and Drug Enforcement Agency.
In April, the Governor announced that drug overdose deaths declined in 2022 by 5% compared with 2021, marking the first decline since 2018. Communities are encouraged to strengthen the fight against the drug epidemic and identify gaps in their addiction treatment services in an effort to reduce overdose deaths by applying for certification.
In March, Gov. Beshear announced that Kentucky is also leading the way in providing treatment services to Kentuckians through the state’s Treatment Access Program, which allows those without health insurance to enter residential treatment, and by creating Recovery Ready Communities, expanding health care coverage and increasing treatment beds.
The state has also increased the number of treatment beds by 50% since the Governor took office in 2019. The administration is also in the process of seeking support and oversight of mobile crisis intervention service providers across the state, which further supports those facing addiction as well as those in need of suicide and crisis intervention.
This year, the Governor also signed legislation supporting recovery housing by setting requirements for certification, operation and oversight of these residences and legislation that ensures direct payments from health insurance to the facilities providing care.
Last year, Gov. Beshear announced a new searchable website to help people in recovery find housing, FindRecoveryHousingNowKY.org. There are currently 185 houses listed on the site.
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.
In September 2022, 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 into law last year 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.
Also in April of last year, Gov. Beshear and ODCP announced $4.9 million in grants to expand 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.
The administration is working to reduce addiction and prevent reincarceration through a statewide project that provides transportation at no charge to former inmates so they can access substance-abuse recovery facilities, medical appointments, job interviews, educational courses, probation and parole meetings and employment. The Department of Corrections (DOC) is partnering with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to serve nearly 50,000 Kentuckians currently under the supervision of probation or parole who can use this project.
In September 2021, Gov. Beshear announced the commonwealth had launched a new initiative to help employers address addiction, boost hiring and retention and support employees in the workplace.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, 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 Kentucky State Police website to find one of 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.