FRANKFORT, Ky. – Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, substance use in Kentucky has been on the rise, exacerbating an already serious addiction crisis that has taken thousands of lives and impacted many more. In response, Rep. Adam Bowling has pre-filed legislation to encourage a more comprehensive approach to substance use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery in all of Kentucky’s 120 counties.

Rep. Bowling’s legislation establishes a framework for communities to become “Recovery Ready,” bringing much needed consistency to local prevention, treatment and recovery efforts across the state, and already has the support of Kentucky’s leading recovery advocates.

“Regardless of where Kentuckians call home, they should be able to access the wide-ranging services and resources they need to help them lead healthy lives, free from dangerous substances,” said Rep. Bowling. “While we’d like to think all Kentuckians have equal opportunities to prevent, treat and recover from substance use disorders, the reality is that significant disparities exist from place to place. This legislation leverages the firsthand knowledge and expertise of those on the frontlines of the addiction crisis to bridge the gaps.”

The “Recovery Ready” legislation establishes a new advisory council within the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy that will include recovery leaders, government officials, law enforcement, private sector employers and other key stakeholders. As a first step, this group will work together to determine appropriate and meaningful “Recovery Ready” standards for the commonwealth’s communities.

These standards will capture the all-inclusive needs of individuals in and seeking recovery and address the social determinants that lead to addiction and make recovery more feasible, including health care and treatment, housing, employment and educational opportunities, childcare and transportation, counseling and peer support.

“Ultimately, we hope this initiative will encourage local communities to take inventory of the resources they currently offer, how easily they can be accessed and the areas in need of more support and attention,” said Rep. Bowling. “It’s our responsibility, as legislators, public officials and community leaders, to ensure these resources are available in each community and that residents know they exist and have the means to access them. That’s what it takes to make Kentucky ‘Recovery Ready.’”

The legislation will be officially introduced in the General Assembly and receive a bill number when lawmakers convene in January.