Cameron announces millions of dollars in opioid settlement money

Kentucky now has a commission to decide how to spend millions of dollars in opioid settlement money.
Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 4:24 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky now has a commission to decide how to spend millions of dollars in opioid settlement money.

Those millions of dollars will soon be pouring into the state, the first of several installments from drug companies.

“Hold opioid companies accountable for their role in exasperating the crisis,” Attorney General Daniel Cameron said.

“I hate to say it’s well-deserved because it has a bad story in why it is deserved. But at the end of the day, it is great to see something positive coming from that,” said Kevin Horn with Isaiah House Treatment Center.

Horn has seen this first hand. In fact, the CDC reports that Kentucky had a more than 13.5% increase in overdose deaths last year— at almost 2,400.

“Fentanyl is obviously a huge factor in that. The fact it’s so readily available,” Horn said.

The commission has yet to have their first meeting, so it hasn’t been decided how exactly a good chunk of this money will be spent. We’re told that treatment will be a key component.

“Ultimately we are excited about any resource that will allow us to better serve those that are struggling with substance abuse disorder,” Horn said.

“One thing I learned at Unite, is that addicts always have money for drugs because they are selling drugs to get more drugs, but they never have money for treatment. So the need is real,” said Karen Engle with the Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission.

The commission is made up of lawmakers, cabinet members, and others who said they’ve seen the problem with addiction first hand.

“I’ve spent 40 years in the trenches in independent pharmacies, so I know what it’s like on the front lines. One day I had five people arrested. One day I had my life threatened,” Representative Danny Bentley said.

They said it’s not just a public health issue, it’s a safety issue.

Half the $483 million is going directly to Kentucky counties and the commission will decide how to spend the other half.

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