Earlier this week, my staff and I shared news of one of our proudest accomplishments since I was elected your Attorney General six years ago. I was thrilled to join Gov. Beshear, First Lady Beshear and House Speaker Stumbo on Monday as we announced that more than $32 million recovered by my office in settlements with two pharmaceutical companies will be used throughout Kentucky to expand substance abuse treatment, including opiate addictions.
Stopping prescription drug abuse is one of my top priorities. I created Kentucky’s first statewide prescription drug abuse task force and helped craft landmark legislation that has shut down half of this state’s pain clinics. Still, we can’t arrest our way out of this problem. We must invest in education and treatment in order to stop the cycle of addiction that is plaguing our Commonwealth.
According to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Kentucky currently only has one-tenth of the treatment beds it needs. The funds from these settlements will help create a new treatment center for adults, treatment scholarships, a grant program for new juvenile treatment beds and/or centers, and expanded services for juveniles. This is a dream I’ve had for six years, and I’m so thankful it is now a reality. I firmly believe this historic investment will save lives in Kentucky.
It’s great to see all of our lawmakers back to work in Frankfort this week. The 2014 regular session of the Kentucky General Assembly gaveled in on Tuesday, and I’ll be supporting several pieces of proposed legislation, including bills that would protect consumers from identity theft and limit state financial aid dollars to some for-profit colleges, and legislation that would allow domestic violence laws to apply to couples who are dating. Additionally, last month, I was proud to join Sen. Katie Stine and Rep. John Tilley in announcing bipartisan legislation that addresses an increase in heroin abuse and trafficking in communities across the Commonwealth and how we can fight it. You can read more about the bill in this month’s newsletter, Kentucky General News. The newsletter was just posted online today and highlights some of the great work my office accomplished in December.
Next week, I’ll be visiting Campbell County High School to share our Keep Kentucky Kids Safe message with the juniors and seniors there. I always look forward to speaking with our students across the Commonwealth, encouraging them not to be the next generation lost to prescription pill abuse.