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Kentuckians Finally Getting Help with Prescription Drugs

Help is on the way for the Kentuckians who are still coping with prescription painkiller addiction – an epidemic that started over a decade ago when Purdue Pharma lied about OxyContin’s addiction potential. For many Kentuckians, the battle is still raging, partially because the State has had such a shortage of treatment centers. But, thanks to Governor Beshear – who has just dedicated $32 million to getting people the prescription drug addiction treatment they need – many may now be able to get the help they need.

Here is what will be done with the money, according to a report from WSAZ, the West Virginia new channel:

  • $2.52 million in scholarships for individuals who seek treatment at Recovery Kentucky Centers, but who are not subject to the corrections system. Thirty scholarships will be awarded each year for two years for each of the 14 currently operational Recovery Kentucky Centers, making a total of 840 scholarships available over a two-year period.
  • Over the next two years, $560,000 will be used to help create 14 drug-free homes for people completing and transitioning out of residential substance abuse treatment programs. The money will provide start-up costs and rental assistance. Residents are required to work and remain drug free.
  • Nearly $19 million will be used to start a grant program that will fund comprehensive juvenile substance abuse treatment programs, both expanding treatment beds at existing facilities and creating new juvenile treatment programs with the full continuum of care, including intensive outpatient and follow-up care centers.
  • $6 million to administer and upgrade KASPER, Kentucky’s electronic prescription drug monitoring program.
  • $1 million to support substance abuse treatment for pregnant women by Chrysalis House in Lexington and Independence House in Corbin.
  • $1.5 million to the University of Kentucky to develop best practices for juvenile substance abuse treatment providers.
  • $1 million to develop a school-based substance abuse screening tool with the Kentucky Department of Education to intervene with at-risk children before they enter judicial or social services systems.
  • $250,000 to create a database to evaluate outcomes of juvenile treatment.

Where did the money come from?

In truth – it’s ‘drug money’. But it’s not from money confiscated from dealers on the street. It’s coming from two drug companies  – both sued by Kentucky’s Attorney General for lying about how dangerous their drugs are.

One is Vioxx manufacturer Merck Sharp and Dohme Corporation – who were sued because they didn’t tell doctors or patients that Vioxx can seriously raise your risk for having heart attack – and the other is GlaxoSmithKline for not letting patients know that Avandia, their diabetes drug, could also cause potentially fatal heart problems. Both these cases were settled, Merck Sharp and Dohme for $25 million and GSK for $15 million. All but $3 million will help people with addictions.

I am SO happy to see this money being used to help handle a problem created by drug companies. When Purdue Pharma paid out it $634, the people who had been harmed by them were practically ignored.

The money is pocket change to the drug companies, but could make a BIG difference to a lot of Kentucky families – who will finally get the prescription drug addiction help they need.

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