Earlier this year, I announced that $32 million secured by my office through two pharmaceutical settlements would be used to expand substance abuse treatment across Kentucky. Nationally, prescription painkillers are the number one cause of accidental death in the United States, and heroin is rapidly becoming the drug of choice in many parts of Kentucky. I’ve always said that in order to break the cycle of addiction, we must invest in both treatment and education, and this week I was proud to announce that $1.5 million from the settlements is being awarded to the University of Kentucky (UK) over two years to develop a comprehensive plan for the prevention and treatment of adolescent substance abuse.
The funding will be used to create and implement a program called "UK Kentucky Kids Recovery," and the program will address every stage in the continuum of adolescent substance abuse. When I travel across Kentucky educating middle and high school students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse through our Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program, I always ask a question: "How many of you have ever abused prescriptions drugs or know someone who’s abused prescription drugs?" No matter if I’m in Eastern Kentucky, Western Kentucky, Louisville or Lexington, almost every hand in the room goes up. UK Kentucky Kids Recovery will allow us to explore all of the resources available to Kentuckians to fight this growing problem and ensure that the best practices for treating adolescents grappling with substance abuse are shared with clinicians and providers across the Commonwealth. I am very proud of this partnership with UK, and I believe this investment will help save lives in Kentucky. You can learn more about the UK Kentucky Kids Recovery program, as well as how the rest of our settlement funds are being utilized, here.
On Tuesday, I was honored to be recognized as an "Affordable Housing Champion" at the Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises (FAHE) Spring Meeting. In 2012, my office joined with 48 other state attorneys general to negotiate the historic national mortgage foreclosure settlement. Kentucky’s share of the settlement totaled nearly $64 million. With that money, we’ve invested in projects that have helped prevent foreclosures and create affordable housing for Kentuckians, and we’ve helped communities across the Commonwealth that were left holding the bag to take care of vacant and abandoned properties. I am committed to fighting for Kentucky families and keeping the big banks honest. I hope you’ll check out our Facebook page to see photos from the event.
Once again, our Election Fraud Hotline proved to be a useful tool during Kentucky’s primary on Tuesday. We received 205 calls from nearly 60 counties, and 49 of those calls involved allegations of vote buying/selling. Each complaint will be thoroughly reviewed and any that appear to be criminal in nature will be referred to the appropriate agency for further investigation. I’d like to thank the voters who utilized our Election Fraud Hotline to report irregularities, and I also appreciate the investigators, attorneys and staff members in my Departments of Criminal Investigations and Special Prosecutions who worked tirelessly during the primary to ensure a fair and honest election for all Kentuckians. For more results from our Election Fraud Hotline, please see our press release.
On Thursday, former Northern Kentucky University (NKU) Athletic Director Scott Eaton was sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing more than $300,000 from the university during a six-year period. Last month, Eaton pleaded guilty to theft by unlawful taking between $10,000 and $1 million, agreed to serve the maximum term of 10 years in prison, and pay full restitution to NKU. Eaton used his position to defraud and take advantage of the university at a time when higher education institutions are being asked to accomplish more with less. I appreciate the hard work of my investigators and prosecutors who brought this case to a successful close, and I’m pleased that Mr. Eaton is accepting responsibility for his actions and that his sentence includes restitution to NKU. Additional information about this case is available here.
Finally, as you spend time with family and friends over the long Memorial Day weekend, please take a moment to remember and honor the military men and women who have lost their lives serving our nation. I hope you have a safe and enjoyable weekend.