Kentucky state government has a new, user-friendly website called "Hope and Help" that brings addiction and recovery supports into one place to help Kentuckians struggling with addiction.
"We want every family in the commonwealth to know hope and help is available through these resources," Justice Secretary John Tilley said in a news release. "Recovery is possible, and it's happening every day across our state."
Tilley was speaking at the Sept. 16 Walk for Recovery event in Frankfort, where Gov. Matt Bevin announced the website to the more than 300 people who walked.
The initiative was created by the governor's office and the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet's Office of Drug Control Policy.
One recovery resource linked on HopeAndHelpKY.com is the the FindHelpNow Treatment Locator, a free service that provides near real-time access to Kentucky-based addiction treatment providers that are accepting clients.
It also includes the number for the KY HELP Statewide Call Center, which is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET. This center allows a person seeking treatment for themselves or others to call 8338-KY-HELP (1-833-859-4357) or text HOPE to 96714 to confidentially speak with a specialist about available treatment services.
The Kentucky State Police Angel Initiative, which allows individuals battling addiction to come to any of the KSP's 16 posts throughout the state to get help, no questions asked, is also included.
In addition, it links to a site that shows where to locate Naloxone, which is a drug that can reverse an opioid overdose, and a site to locate drop boxes for unwanted prescriptions.
Three Kentuckians are also featured on the "Stories of Hope" page in short videos that tell their stories of recovery. Jason Roop of Campbellsville, who is featured in one of the videos, says, "Don't give up! The next chapter is the most beautiful."
The site doesn't yet link to is the Cabinet for Health and Family Service's syringe exchange website, which shows the location, address and operating hours of the state's 63 operating syringe exchange programs that are located in 56 counties, as of Sept. 12. Three more have been approved, but are not yet operational.
Syringe exchange programs, also called harm reduction programs, are meant to slow the spread of HIV and hepatitis C, which are commonly spread by the sharing of needles among intravenous drug users. They also provide health screenings and vaccines and connect people who use drugs to treatment. It is often cited that injection drug users who have access to syringe exchanges are five times more likely to get treatment than those who don't.
Elizabeth Kuhn, the governor's communications director, said in an e-mail that they are working with the health cabinet to add to the website information about several of its key initiatives to combat the drug epidemic, including the harm reduction program and the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort.
Kentucky has aggressively worked to crack down on the opioid epidemic that has plagued the state, and the annual ODCP report offered some hope that those efforts are working, finding that Kentucky had a nearly 15 percent drop in overdose deaths between 2017 and 2018, which was almost three times the national decline of 5.1%.
“We must build on our momentum and continue to spread the word,” drug-policy office Director Van Ingram said in the release. “We want to empower every Kentucky citizen with the knowledge and resources to combat this crisis within the home and on the ground. Hope is here and we are ready to help.”