Conway funnels $1.5 million in drug-company settlements to develop prevention and treatment plan for kids’ substance abuse

With two lawsuit settlements from drug makers, Attorney General Jack Conway is giving the University of Kentucky $1.5 million over two years to develop a comprehensive plan for the prevention and treatment of substance abuse by adolescents.

“Adolescent substance use is at epidemic proportions,” Conway said in a press release. “A 2011 study from the Centers for Disease Control documented 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.”

The grant is intended to address all aspects of adolescent substance abuse, including community and physician outreach and education, treatment plans, and outcomes measurement. Funding of $19 million from the $32 million in settlements is already being used to create a program that addresses every stage of adolescent substance abuse, KY Kids Recovery.

“Our goal is to develop a start-to-finish plan with elements that offer evidence-based treatment, reach out to teachers, families, primary care providers and pharmacists, and target resources to communities with the highest need,” said Dr. Catherine Martin, director of the new program and UK’s Division for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. “The program will utilize only treatments with a proven track record of success.”

The settlement is also providing $500,000 to complete construction of a Recovery Kentucky center in Ashland, $2.5 million for almost 900 scholarships over two years to Recovery Kentucky centers, and $560,000 to create 14 drug-free homes for people completing and transitioning out of residential substance abuse treatment programs.

In addition, the following entities will receive funds over the next two years from the settlement:
· $6 million to administer and upgrade KASPER, Kentucky’s electronic prescription drug monitoring program.
· $600,000 over two years to support substance abuse treatment for pregnant women by Chrysalis House in Lexington.
· $400,000 over two years to support substance abuse treatment for pregnant women by Independence House in Corbin.
· $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.

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