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Kentucky receives more than $35 million to support opioid response

In News, State by OC Monitor Staff

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Cabinet for Health and Family Services has received a $35.4 million federal grant to support the continued work of the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort. The two-year State Opioid Response grant, awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, aims to address the opioid crisis by increasing access to the three FDA-approved medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder, reducing unmet treatment need and opioid overdose-related deaths.

“Kentucky is committed to ending the opioid epidemic through establishing a comprehensive, compassionate, and science-based approach to prevention, treatment and recovery services,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “Like many Kentuckians, this issue is personal for me, and I fully understand the devastating impact opioids have on individuals, families, our health care system and economy. SOR federal dollars have given us much needed support to address this epidemic at the community level. It’s making a tremendous difference.”

KORE, which is housed in the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, an agency of CHFS, first received a federal grant award in support of opioid response efforts in 2017. Over the course of three years, it has helped lead an unprecedented expansion in opioid response services at the community level. KORE, in partnership with numerous federal, state, and local agencies, now supports over 90 programs focused on prevention, harm reduction, treatment services, re-entry support, employment services and recovery housing. In 2019 alone, KORE-funded programs delivered treatment and recovery services to over 11,000 individuals, distributed 23,000 free Narcan kits and reached over 130,000 youth through school and community-based prevention programs.

The new funding award will allow Kentucky to continue to build on the program’s early successes while also expanding work to support evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery support services to address stimulant misuse and use disorders, including for cocaine and methamphetamine.

“Opioid use disorder is not a moral failing: It is a health issue and a highly treatable one when individuals have access to evidence-based services, medication and long-term care,” said CHFS Secretary Eric Friedlander. “While addiction is a chronic and complex brain disorder, many Kentuckians are recovering from substance use disorder – every day. With this continued support, we are able to help even more people and communities across the state.”

“The opioid crisis continues to evolve and has escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said KORE Project Director Dr. Katherine Marks. “With the support of these federal dollars, we will be able to expand the scope and reach of our response that is grounded in evidence-based practices that we know save lives and support long-term recovery.”

The funding formulas for federal opioid response awards programs can be found at . For more information on KORE, visit

To access treatment services, visit Kentucky’s treatment locator at, or call Kentucky’s treatment hotline. For additional information about treatment or substance use disorder, contact the Kentucky Help Statewide Call Center to speak with a screening and referral specialist from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m, EST/EDT Monday through Friday. The number is 1-877-318-1871.

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