Counties recognized for reducing addiction, removing workforce barriers
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 21, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that the Northern Kentucky region, representing Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties, and Perry and Woodford counties have been designated as Recovery Ready Communities for their commitment to providing residents with access to addiction treatment and recovery support and removing barriers to the workforce. These counties make up the latest round to be approved for certification since the Beshear administration announced Boyle County as the first Recovery Ready Community in May.
“Starting as Attorney General and continuing as Governor, I have fought for every single Kentuckian facing addiction to reach recovery,” said Gov. Beshear. “The more counties that we can designate as Recovery Ready, the more lives we can save. I am so pleased to have this next round of counties receive their designation, and I look forward to many more joining us in this fight.”
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 has been working closely with Kentucky’s counties to establish community-based infrastructure to combat addiction and support long-term recovery.
“The council voted to approve this next round of certificates because of their strong connection to local treatment providers and persons who are incarcerated, and the value placed on family education,” said Advisory Council Chair Pam Darnall.
The Northern Kentucky region, the first regional application to be submitted and approved, focuses on addiction recovery for 428,208 Kentuckians living in Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties. Northern Kentucky has the only regional Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP) in the state.
The region has been designed as a Recovery Ready Community because it has multiple major local employers with fair chance hiring policies and who routinely hire residents in recovery, including the justice-involved population; innovative emergency shelter services for the homeless population; scholarships for those without insurance to receive addiction treatment; and assistance for family members to attend recovery support meetings.
“Northern Kentucky has a strong spirit of regional collaboration and cooperation, and our certification as a Recovery Ready Community is yet another example of doing better together,” said Northern Kentucky ODCP Chair and Campbell County Judge/Executive Steve Pendery. “The Recovery Ready Community designation is a validation of our yearslong effort in this space and provides us a roadmap for the future as we continue the fight. We greatly appreciate the work of the Recovery Ready Communities Advisory Council and are proud to earn the first regional designation in the commonwealth.”
Next, Perry County, which serves 27,361 Kentuckians, has been designed as a Recovery Ready Community because of its strong coalition of local treatment providers who routinely make referrals to each other to avoid individuals being placed on waiting lists and delaying addiction treatment; the innovative addiction treatment program offered at Kentucky River Regional Jail, which not only reduces addiction but recidivism; and because of a training program offered for those who are in recovery to learn carpentry and other building skills, among other items.
“If you are a resident in or around Perry County fighting an addiction, we are available to help you obtain recovery,” Perry County Judge/Executive Scott Alexander said. “We have impressive primary care clinics including Primary Care of Eastern Kentucky and the Mountain Health Alliance’s Little Flower Clinic that seamlessly integrate addiction treatment in a holistic manner. We also have a quick response team ready to meet you where you are. There is no stigma in Perry County for getting treatment and we will support you on your journey.”
Additionally, Woodford County, which serves 27,062 Kentuckians, has been designed as a Recovery Ready Community because of a comprehensive harm reduction outreach program operated by the Woodford County Health Department in partnership with the University of Kentucky; local judges who use graduated sanctions for addiction-related violations; multiple recovery meetings that occur daily to ensure access to residents who work alternative hours; and the Versailles Police Department’s strong commitment to community policing. All of this has earned the county its designation as a Recovery Ready Community.
“Woodford County has been all hands-on deck working to combat the drug epidemic facing our community,” said Woodford County Judge/Executive James Kay. “This is literally a fight to save lives and restore hope and opportunity for people and families, and in Woodford County, I am proud to say that our whole community is on board. Working together works and we have been intentional as a community to open the door to every person and organization who is willing to join our effort, and that is how we have become Recovery Ready.”
To learn more about the program and to apply for certification as a Recovery Ready Community, click here.
Marking the first decline since 2018, Gov. Beshear announced drug overdose deaths in Kentucky declined in 2022 by 5% compared with 2021, and the commonwealth was one of only eight states to see a decline from the previous year.
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.
In May, Gov. Beshear announced that the Kentucky Counterdrug Program seized 142 pounds of fentanyl, enough to cause almost certain death for more than 28.9 million people. As of August, the team has now seized 171 pounds of fentanyl and more than 153,718 pills that could have made it into the hands of Kentuckians.
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.
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.
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.