Newspaper finds Ky. drug treatment options limited

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 25, 2012 at 8:39 am •  Published: December 25, 2012

Kerri Richardson, spokeswoman for Gov. Steve Beshear, said there was a conscious effort to maintain the funding "even as other state agencies saw deep, painful cuts of up to 40 percent over the past five years."

One state agency where treatment funding has increased is the Department of Corrections, which saw its substance abuse budget rise more than 600 percent since 2007, to about $7 million.

Kentucky has taken a step to ease its treatment shortage by opening 10 Recovery Kentucky centers since 2007, tapping funding sources such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the state Department of Corrections.

Those residential centers, where recovering addicts help their peers, are part of a state initiative modeled after The Healing Place in Louisville and The Hope Center in Lexington that seek to reduce chronic homelessness by helping people recover from substance abuse. Four more are planned.

State officials also recently announced that they received $3.6 million in federal grants for bolstering treatment, the majority going to providers in Whitley and Campbell counties to help at-risk adolescents with mental health and drug-abuse problems.

"Despite a historic recession, Kentucky has expanded its support of substance abuse treatment programs over the past few years as part of the administration's overall effort to combat drug abuse," Richardson said.

But officials and experts agree Kentucky still falls far short of offering enough treatment. Beshear said the number of people seeking help for painkiller addiction has risen 900 percent in a decade, and many treatment professionals expect the state's new prescription drug law will lead even more to seek help.

"If you take away all of the pill mills, those people don't magically stop using and get better," said Michele Flowers McCarthy, community and government liaison for SelfRefind, which has 11 clinics in Kentucky offering medication-assisted treatment.


Information from: The Courier-Journal,