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Forums to address opiate abuse in Kentucky

Scheduled for Lexington and Corbin

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 13, 2016) — The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) will host two forums next week addressing opiate abuse in Kentucky. The forums are designed to help Kentuckians gain a better understanding of the opioid abuse epidemic; identify resources for prevention and treatment; and help mobilize community efforts to solve this public health crisis.

CHFS, along with Bluegrass.org, Cumberland River Behavioral Health and national experts from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, will hold the forums in Lexington and Corbin.

“We are at the forefront of a growing national problem,” said CHFS Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson. “Opiate abuse is ravaging families and communities across Kentucky. Gov. Matt Bevin and I are enlisting all available resources to develop strategies that will mitigate the public health, economic and workforce development problems caused by the spread of opioid abuse.”

The forums are part of the Supporting Mothers to Achieve Recovery through Treatment and Supports (SMARTS) initiative, a grant program funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Various departments within CHFS, including the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities and the Department for Public Health, Cumberland River Behavioral Health and Bluegrass.org are collaborating on SMARTS to establish a new system of care to treat pregnant and parenting women up to two years post-birth.

The first forum will be hosted by Bluegrass.org from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday in Lexington at the Griffin Gate Marriott. Kentucky First Lady Glenna Bevin will be in attendance.

This forum will feature Judge Tim Feeley, CHFS deputy secretary, as well as the executive director of the Office of Drug Control Policy, Van Ingram.

“An estimated 310,000 Kentucky citizens have a diagnosable substance use disorder—dependence or abuse—for which treatment is indicated,” said Feeley. “To reverse Kentucky’s substance abuse and opiate problem, we have to engage our communities and connect people with the resources and treatment they need.”

The second forum will be hosted by Cumberland River Behavioral Health from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Corbin Technology Center. The Cumberland River forum will feature Secretary John Tilley of the Cabinet for Justice and Public Safety.

“The fight against opiates demands a multi-faceted approach, involving enforcement, treatment and prevention,” said Tilley. “The Justice Cabinet is proud to stand with this broad coalition as Kentucky continues to build on our efforts to stamp out this scourge.”

Dr. William Hacker, a well-known Appalachian physician and former commissioner for the Department for Public Health, will also be a featured speaker at Tuesday’s forum. Dr. Hacker currently serves as the chairman of the SOAR Community Health and Wellness Advisory Council.

Registration for the Lexington forum has closed. Limited availability remains for the Corbin forum.