Boyle continues to lead in fight against addiction

Published 9:17 pm Friday, May 17, 2019


The Advocate-Messenger

The pieces keep falling into place for Boyle County. This county’s residents are building one of if not the most comprehensive, community-based responses to the drug epidemic in the state.

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We have more churches and religious groups deeply involved in offering hope than you can count easily.

We have a government-funded outpatient treatment program from Shepherd’s House for former inmates; a newly opened Danville treatment program from the recovery organization Isaiah House; and a third organization, Spero Health (SelfRefind), holding a ribbon cutting this coming week for an outpatient drug treatment program.

We have numerous highly active addiction support and recovery groups, and the most effective county Agency for Substance Abuse Policy in the state, which helped make sure Boyle is part of an $87 million grant awarded to the University of Kentucky to help combat opioid overdoses.

Our health department was an early adopter when the state made it possible to open a syringe exchange program, helping reduce public health risks and offer injection drug users chances to get clean and turn their lives around.

Our hospital is planning to offer detox beds that could help people with addiction issues get to a better mental state and then hopefully enter other treatment programs without setting foot inside a jail.

Local prosecutors and judges have moved mountains in recent years when it comes to how drug-addicted defendants are handled, making it more likely they will be offered help and given a chance to change.

Our jail is part of the solution, too — its leaders are implementing or working to implement mental health and substance abuse programming for local inmates, so they’re more prepared to lead valuable lives and work taxpaying jobs when they re-enter our community.

And now, plans are moving forward for the Seeing Hearts transitional home, for local men who recently completed prison sentences. It could help them stay off drugs and gain sure footing during a very uncertain time in their lives.

We’ve only hit the highlights here — we don’t have enough space to list all of the other things going on, such as drug education for kids and mentoring programs. But just from what we’ve listed already, it’s clear Boyle County is not just ahead of the curve; we’re leading the pack.

People are already talking about many of our local programs and initiatives as models that could be replicated elsewhere. We think the entire community response is what should be held up as the model. No one piece is the golden ticket to a drug-free tomorrow.

If anyone wants to replicate the successes Boyle County is starting to see and will see a lot more of in coming years, they can’t just photocopy our policies and procedures; they need to start by replicating our deep community involvement, intentional thoughtfulness, commitment to evidence-based solutions and compassion for our neighbors, no matter who they are. That’s not an easy thing to duplicate, but it’s that core community support that makes everything else possible.