Beshear recognizes National Recovery Month; See connected video here

Published 12:12 pm Thursday, September 23, 2021

Gov. Andy Beshear, the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP) and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) recognized September as National Recovery Month and celebrated the thousands of Kentuckians who have achieved recovery while also reaffirming the commonwealth’s commitment to helping even more Kentuckians overcome addiction.

National Recovery Month promotes and supports new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, a strong and proud recovery community, and the dedicated service providers and community members across the nation who make recovery possible.

The 2021 National Recovery Month theme, “Recovery is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community,” reminds people in recovery and those who support them that no one is alone in the journey.

Recovery belongs to all of us.

“Our job as public servants is to work with partners and individuals throughout Kentucky to provide help, hope and a hand to lead people out of the darkness of addiction and into the light – of acceptance, opportunity and community,” said Gov. Beshear. “There are many pathways to recovery and each story should be celebrated. I want to personally commend all Kentuckians in recovery for their resilience and courage which serves as a reminder that recovery is possible for everyone.”

The governor also said it is vital to reduce the stigma around seeking treatment for addiction so more Kentuckians’ lives will be saved from the devastating, nationwide drug epidemic.

The Beshear administration is committed to combating this epidemic, and over the past year, has awarded grant funding across the commonwealth to increase access to treatment services and recovery programs. State efforts include programs targeted at reducing addiction, preventing re-incarceration, increasing the distribution of the life-saving drug naloxone and removing barriers to treatment.

Recently, Gov. Beshear announced that through a collaborate effort between state government, health care and the business community, the commonwealth had launched a new initiative to help employers address addiction, boost hiring and retention and support employees in the workplace. The initiative, known as the Kentucky Transformational Employment Program, is the result of legislation signed into law by the Governor following the passage of Senate Bill 191 in 2020.

One of several steps the Governor has taken this past year to help provide treatment to those fighting substance use and to keep those in recovery on the path toward healing was signing House Bill 7 into law to ensure that communities are recovery-ready by having resources in place, such as employment, transportation, recovery meetings and support groups.

In 2020, ODCP awarded more than $23 million in grant funding to 21 programs across the commonwealth to increase access to treatment services and recovery programs and to help retain employment for persons in recovery seeking employment and job training.

By the end of 2022, ODCP estimates that over a three-year period the office will have awarded more than $69 million in grant funding across the commonwealth, focused on aiding all Kentuckians in need of recovery and preventing more Kentuckians from falling prey to addiction.

“To the tens of thousands of Kentuckians who are in recovery today, you did it, you fought hard, sought treatment and have remained on successful path of healing, which benefits our communities and economy. You are the real heroes in this fight against the drug epidemic, and because of your recovery our state is making progress for future generations,” said Van Ingram, Executive Director of ODCP.

Throughout September members of the recovery community along with partners in state government and the health care community have come together to share the important stories of recovery and healing. To access the video testimonials, click here. Kentuckians are encouraged to share these videos, or their own story, using the hashtag #KentuckiansInRecovery.

“Opioid response is only as successful as our willingness to recognize that we are all in this together. This is how we move forward and build a system where every Kentuckian has access to the care, services and support they need for recovery and healing,” said Eric Friedlander, Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the agency which houses the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort. “This month, we will be sharing stories of hope and resilience – and hope all Kentuckians will follow along and join us in celebrating Recovery Month”.

“It is the mission of Isaiah House, Inc. to provide HOPE through Healing, Opportunity, Purpose, and Employment. Our goal is to save lives, restore families and improve communities. As we observe National Recovery Month, we are grateful to all of our community partners who help educate against the stigma of addiction and support men and women on their path to recovery,” Mike Cox, President of Isaiah House, Inc. said.

“In order to lessen the negative impacts of drug use, we, as a society must move away from stigma, judgement and punishment, and toward education, support and services,” said Jennifer Twyman, Health Education Specialist with the Louisville Metro Public Health & Wellness Syringe Exchange Program. “If we provide people who use drugs with the education, tools and a wide range of services it will empower them to make positive decisions when it comes to their own health and well-being, in return, we keep everyone safer, healthier and alive.”

Since taking office, the Governor has continued his pledge to fight tirelessly for those suffering from substance abuse, along with their families.

On Aug. 31, Gov. Beshear joined a bipartisan group of state and community leaders to recognize Overdose Awareness Day. As part of the observance, the Governor proclaimed Aug. 31 as Overdose Awareness Day in Kentucky, directed that flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff from sunrise until sunset that day. The Governor encouraged individuals, businesses and organizations throughout the commonwealth to join in this tribute. Gov. Beshear also lit the Governor’s Mansion purple to acknowledge the grief felt by families and friends as the commonwealth remembered those who had died or had a permanent injury as a result of a drug overdose.

On Aug. 23, Gov. Beshear and Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Kerry Harvey announced that a total of almost $1.2 million in grant funding has been awarded from the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Comprehensive Opioid and Stimulant Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP) to Kentucky entities to implement a collaborative project creating pathways to recovery and healing for those that have been negatively impacted by opioids, stimulants and substance abuse.

In June 2021, Gov. Beshear announced more than $570,000 in COSSAP grant funding had been awarded to the Jeffersontown Police Department and Access to Justice Commission to develop a variety of treatment options and provide the commonwealth with another resource tool to end the devastating drug epidemic.

In February 2021, the Beshear administration also announced $4.6 million in grant funding to expand treatment and recovery services, including those for mothers and pregnant women with opioid addiction and an additional $1.4 million to assist state and local law enforcement with efforts to prevent or reduce crime and violence and address drug trafficking in their communities.

Treatment Resources The KY Help Call Center, created in 2017 through a partnership with Operation UNITE, remains available to those with a substance use disorder, or their friends or family members, as a quick resource with information on treatment options and open slots among treatment providers. Individuals may call 833-8KY-HELP (833-859-4357) to speak one-on-one with a specialist who will connect them with treatment as quickly as possible.

The Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health manages a vital website, www.findhelpnowky.org, for Kentucky health care providers, court officials, families and individuals seeking options for substance abuse treatment and recovery. It offers real-time information about available space in treatment programs, and guides users to the right type of treatment for their needs. The site provides a search engine for drug treatment, helping users locate treatment providers based on location, facility type and category of treatment needed.

The Kentucky State Police (KSP) Angel Initiative is a proactive program designed to help people battle addiction. Anyone suffering from a substance use disorder can visit one of KSP’s 16 posts located throughout the commonwealth to 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 more information about the Angel Initiative, visit the KSP website.