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Department of Justice grant to provide $3.7 million to combat the opioid crisis crippling Eastern Kentucky

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

The U S. Department of Justice has earmarked more than $3.7 million in federal grants to combat the opioid crisis in eastern Kentucky.

The DOJ awards, which will go to six agencies involved in the fight, are part of $320 million in nationwide grants, which coincide with October being observed as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month.

”President Trump has made ending the opioid crisis a priority for this administration, and under his leadership, the Department of Justice has taken historic action,” said U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “We are investing $320 million into all three parts of the President’s comprehensive plan to end the epidemic; prevention, treatment, and enforcement.  We are attacking this crisis from every angle and we will not let up until we bring it to an end.”

A $3.7 million grant will help battle opiods in eastern Kentucky. (Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy photo)

The Kentucky grants include:

• The Lexington Fayette Urban County Government received $500,000 for law enforcement and first responders to respond to overdoses.

• The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services received $543,188 for the Commonwealth’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

• The University of Kentucky Research Foundation received $1,000,000 to help local and state agencies leverage information from public health and public safety data and to analyze substance abuse issues and identify potential solutions from public health, treatment, and public safety perspectives. 

• The Northern Kentucky Legal Aid Society received $666,176 to help expand services for children and youth victimized as a result of the opioid crisis.  

• The Lexington Leadership Foundation, Inc., received $500,000 to create and provide mentoring services to children impacted by the opioid epidemic.  

• The Kentucky Administrative Office of the Court received $500,000 to enhance existing drug court programs.

“These grants provide unprecedented funding for those most impacted by the opioid crisis and will assist families and children, law enforcement, and first responders,” said Robert M. Duncan, Junior, U. S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky.  “These grant awards evidence the Department of Justice’s commitment to address this crisis on multiple fronts, and recognize the need to support law enforcement, prevention, and treatment efforts.”

There’s no word yet on any grants being awarded to Louisville and points west.

In 2017, more than 72,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses, an increase from the 64,000 overdose deaths in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They say the majority of these deaths can be attributed to opioids, including fentanyl and its variations.

The Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy reports there were 1,565 overdose deaths in the state last year, up from 1,404 in 2016.

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