By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — The University of Kentucky will receive a $1.5 million, two-year grant from the state to develop a plan to prevent and treat substance abuse by adolescents.
The money comes from legal settlements that Attorney General Jack Conway’s office reached with two pharmaceutical companies. The settlement funds are administered by the Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory Committee, which Gov. Steve Beshear created by executive order. It is chaired by Conway.
Adolescent substance abuse is at “epidemic proportions,” Conway said.
He said a 2011 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 66 percent of Kentucky kids have used alcohol, 37 percent have used marijuana, and 19 percent have abused prescription drugs.
“This grant will allow us to explore all of the resources available to Kentuckians to fight this growing problem,” he said.”
The money will be used to create and implement UK Kentucky Kids Recovery, a program that officials said would address every stage of adolescent substance abuse.
Conway’s office settled cases last year with two pharmaceutical companies for $32 million. The court orders filed in both settlements require that the money be spent on substance abuse treatment programs, he said.
From the settlement, $19 million created the Kentucky Kids Recovery grant program. The grants are being used to increase the number of treatment beds at existing centers and to create new programs, including intensive outpatient and follow-up care centers.
Proceeds from the settlements are going to a variety of programs around the state, including $2.5 million for almost 900 scholarships over two years to Recovery Kentucky centers; $6 million to administer and upgrade KASPER, Kentucky’s electronic prescription drug monitoring program; and $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.
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Jack Brammer: (859) 231-1302. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com