Standing behind Governor Matt Bevin are, from left, Van Ingram, Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy; Dakota Vance, KY HELP Statewide Call Center Outreach Specialist; Nancy Hale, President & CEO, Operation UNITE; and U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers (KY-5th).
PIKEVILLE (July 31, 2018) – September has been declared “Recovery Month” in Kentucky.
Governor Matt Bevin, in signing the proclamation Friday, said he wanted “to encourage more people to seek and embark on a path of recovery.”
Joining the governor at the East Kentucky Expo Center during the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) fifth annual summit, were U.S. Fifth District Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, Operation UNITE President & CEO Nancy Hale, Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy Executive Director Van Ingram, and KY HELP Statewide Call Center Outreach Specialist Dakota Vance.
According to the 2017 Overdose Fatality Report released this summer by the Kentucky Justice & Public Safety Cabinet, 1,565 people died as a result of a drug overdose – an increase from 1,404 people in 2016.
“Educating Kentuckians about how substance use affects all people in a community, including public safety officials, the workforce, older adults and families, is essential to combating stereotypes and prejudices often associated with addiction,” Bevin said in the proclamation.
Bevin stated that the National Survey on Drug Use and Health stated that roughly 21 million Americans aged 12 and older needed treatment for substance abuse or dependence, and 6.6 percent of Kentuckians aged 18 or older had a substance use disorder.
“Substance use disorders are a treatable yet serious health problem, and our communities must encourage relatives and friends of people with substance use disorders to implement preventive measures, recognize the signs of a problem, and guide those in need to appropriate treatment and recovery support services,” Bevin stated. “Recovery is possible through a variety of treatment resources and support problems, and thousands of Americans now live happy, healthy and productive lives in recovery.”
As part of this effort, Bevin created the “Don’t Let Them Die” campaign in mid-2017. In November 2017, the governor launched the KY HELP Statewide Call Center – 1-833-8KY-HELP (1-833-859-4357) – staffed by Operation UNITE.
“To be part of this campaign affirms our purpose and vision of being a collaborative model striving to prevent abuse of drugs and facilitate recovery,” Hale said. “As a result, UNITE believes we can create hope and change the culture across the commonwealth.”
Since taking its first call on December 1, 2017, the KY Help Call Center has responded to more than 2,400 calls. More than half of these callers have been entered treatment with the assistance of UNITE’s Call Center staff.
“The KY HELP Statewide Call Center provides resources for Kentuckians who are seeking help for a substance use disorder and offers support to the families of those individuals,” Hale said. “UNITE’s staff provides personalized attention and compassionate assistance to every caller.”
The KY HELP Statewide Call Center is available from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm (EDT) Monday through Friday. Messages left after business hours are returned the next business day.
In addition to the Call Center, the “Don’t Let Them Die” campaign includes the Kentucky State Police’s “Angel Initiative,” which allows anyone battling an addiction to walk in to any of state police post and receive help finding a treatment facility on the spot, and the “FindHelpNowKY.org” online treatment center locator operated by the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center.