McConnell: $6.6M federal grant will help fight KY’s opioid epidemic

The opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen.
The opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen. AP

Rural residents in nearly 50 Kentucky counties struggling with addiction are slated to get more treatment and recovery housing options, thanks to a multimillion-dollar federal grant earmarked for Kentucky that takes aim at the opioid epidemic.

U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, announced Thursday that he helped secure the $6.6 million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services for the Fletcher Group, an organization started by former Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher to support people struggling with addiction. The money is part of the federal Rural Communities Opioid Response Program, which aims to spread evidence-based prevention and treatment options for drug addiction in rural parts of the country. The grant will be divvied between 101 counties in eight states.

With help from the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, the Fletcher Group plans to use the money to establish a Rural Center of Excellence on Substance Use Disorder to oversee and provide treatment and recovery housing opportunities for low-income, residents at high-risk for addiction in 47 rural counties across the state but concentrated in Eastern Kentucky.

In prepared statements on Thursday, McConnell said the money will “help combat the opioid crisis that has afflicted many communities throughout Kentucky,” and Fletcher called McConnell “a tireless champion fighting against the opioid crisis.”