Budget subcommittee hears update on opioid settlement and addressing addiction

Published 10:41 am Friday, February 16, 2024

Representative Daniel Elliott

When you consider the public health issues facing Kentucky, chief among them is the undue harm and suffering opioids put on local families.

Overdose rates in the commonwealth are considerably higher than the national average. We began taking steps in the right direction—from expanding early intervention services to removing barriers to treatment facilities.

Email newsletter signup

Kentucky is part of a $26 billion settlement with opioid distributors and a manufacturer. The Commonwealth’s portion is $478 million to go towards programs to address the opioid epidemic. The settlement resolves more than 4,000 claims of state and local governments across the country.

We recognize that so much that needs to be done to address the opioid epidemic. That is why it takes both community and state leaders working in tandem to utilize these funds to tackle challenges in unity.

Amid overdose rates continuing to soar and only worsen, we took steps during the 2021 Regular Session with the unanimous passage of HB 427. This measure provided for the division of financial settlements awarded as a result of opioid lawsuits filed by state and local governments.

Under the terms of HB 427, local governments will receive 50% of all proceeds from the settlement, with the state receiving the other 50%. The state’s portion will be managed by the Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission (KYOAAC).

KYOAAC grants are open to any registered entity that is in good standing with the Kentucky Secretary of State as well as counties, cities, and towns. Proposals will be screened to ensure that minimum eligibility requirements have been met and that all required documentation has been submitted. Proposals meeting minimum eligibility requirements and that are complete will be reviewed by Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission members. Awards will be made on the basis of a majority of votes cast by the Commission’s voting members.

Members of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Health and Family Services met this week to receive an introduction to the new Director of the Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission, Chris Evans. The committee also received an update on the status of the commission and its current operations. Currently, more than 90 grant applications have been submitted as a request for funding for treatment or prevention options in local communities. The online application became available on January 1, 2024, at https://kyjusticeigx.intelligrants.com and will close March 31, 2024.

Kentuckians struggling with a substance use disorder can call 1-833-8KY-HELP (1-833-859-4357) to speak with a live specialist about treatment options and available resources.

As always, I can be reached anytime through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181. You can also contact me via e-mail at daniel.elliott@lrc.ky.gov and keep track through the Kentucky legislature’s website at legislature.ky.gov.