Eastern Kentucky students talk personal connections to drug abuse

FRANKFORT, Ky (WYMT) - State Attorney General Jack Conway tells WYMT that Kentucky's kids are the unfortunate victims of the state's growing drug epidemic. In Frankfort on Thursday, he recognized two promising students, who he said have beaten the odds.

Drug abuse impacts us all differently. For Owsley County High School graduate Kimberly Barrett, watching her father struggle with addiction was not easy.

"My father, where he is not at himself very often, you kind of learn to learn to do things on your own. It is kind of a lonely way to live," said Barrett.

She, along with Hazard High School grad Josh Hollan, talked about how the drug epidemic has shaped their lives.

"All of a sudden my mom went from making seven figures a year to nothing and she got her license revoked. Not many people know that but I am not ashamed to tell it anymore because I have nothing to hide," said Hollan.

Barrett added that addiction is a unique problem to overcome.

"It is like being an alcoholic. They are never really at themselves. You cannot tell them something and they will remember it the next day. You cannot take them out in public places because someone is going to look at them," said Barrett.

The two visited the state's capitol to receive the Sarah Shay and Michael Donta Memorial Scholarships, which are named in honor of two young adults who lost their battles with addiction.

Josh Hollan said the meaning behind the award is more important than the money they are earning.

"I was not really happy about the money. I was more happy about winning the scholarship for the cause. The $1,500.00 is definitely going to help in the fall but just winning it for what it stands for really means a lot," said Hollan.

This is the first year for the memorial scholarship. It is funded by private donations and the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators.

The attorney general's office hands out the award.


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