FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 24, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear joined lawmakers, recovery and addiction prevention experts and an addiction survivor to sign two pieces of legislation that support ongoing efforts to help Kentuckians fighting addiction.
In addition to the new laws, the Governor said Kentucky is leading the way in providing treatment services to Kentuckians through the state’s Treatment Access Program, which allows those without health insurance to enter residential treatment, and by creating Recovery Ready Communities, expanding health care coverage and increasing treatment beds. The state has increased the number of treatment beds by 50% since the Governor took office in 2019.
“My faith teaches me that there are second chances in this life and that we are all our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. To help every Kentuckian reach their full potential, we must live out our faith and values and help those struggling overcome,” Gov. Beshear said. “Let me tell you, this isn’t a battle that is going to be won in a day. We have to fight for the inches, that become the miles of progress. Thanks to a lot of folks working together.”
“I would just like to thank the Governor, the legislators that are here, our providers, our advocates and also thank those of you who are here with lived experience with substance use disorder, because we rely on you to help build the best system,” said Dr. Allen Brenzel of the Department for Behavioral Health. “I would also like to offer condolences to anybody who has lost a loved one. We know we are losing an average of six Kentuckians a day. Those are your brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, teachers, lawyers, doctors, plumbers. We know that is a loss of incredible human potential. We want you to know we have an incredibly complex plan to address this.”
“Thank you, Governor, and thank you for your leadership for all the way back to your time as attorney general. You kept addiction at the forefront of the problems we face in Kentucky,” said Van Ingram, executive director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy. “We have to get it right. We have to keep fighting this fight every day.”
The Governor added that just today, his administration issued a Request for Proposal for support and oversight of mobile crisis intervention service providers across the state, which further supports those facing addiction as well as those in need of suicide and crisis intervention.
House Bill 248
This legislation supports recovery housing by setting requirements for certification, operation and oversight of these residences. It is also aimed at helping these resources be more accessible and equitable.
“Our hope is potential barriers can be identified – like location, transportation and language services accommodations – and that programs can be created to overcome these obstacles and get more people the quality care they need,” Gov. Beshear said.
Last year, Gov. Beshear announced a new searchable website to help people in recovery find housing, FindRecoveryHousingNowKY.org.
“We are fortunate to have a governor and General Assembly that are so committed to addressing the social determinants of recovery and improving outcomes for individuals impacted by substance use,” said founder and CEO of Addiction Recovery Care Tim Robinson Jr. “For people earlier on in their recovery journeys, having a safe place to stay can make all the difference. House Bill 248 ensures that Kentuckians across the state will have access to quality housing as they transition out of a treatment program and work toward reentering society.”
President of the Kentucky Recovery Housing Network advisory board Gene Detherage Jr. said, “Quality recovery housing provides, safe, affordable and recovery-supportive environments for individuals to maintain a lifestyle of recovery from substance use disorders. When we bridge the gap for people to move from acute care treatment programs with recovery housing, we give them the support and opportunity to rebuild their lives and find their place in the commonwealth. Recovery housing is a key building block to moving forward and empowering individuals to live full and productive lives which then go on to benefit every other life they touch.”
“Today’s signing of House Bill 248 continues to grow the hope that Gov. Beshear has already given to those struggling with addiction,” said Ashley Adkins, general counsel and vice president of outreach and development for Edgewater Recovery Center. “By protecting access to quality mental health and substance use treatment, we can improve outcomes, reduce stigma and make real progress toward saving the lives of our community members and loved ones.”
“The transition to recovery housing can be a particularly vulnerable time for individuals who are recovering from substance use disorders. Under House Bill 248, Kentuckians will have protection against substandard housing providers that care more about profits than the health, well-being and safety of those in recovery,” said Chief Financial Officer for Stepworks, Deron Bibb.
“Every step taken to expand access to recovery services and treatment can make a difference in the lives of so many people fighting addiction,” said Barry Martin, CEO of Primary Care Centers of Eastern Kentucky and its spinoff treatment center, Beacons of Hope. “I am grateful to Gov. Beshear and the General Assembly for pushing through and signing legislation that will help more Kentuckians overcome addiction and go on to live healthier, fuller lives.”
“As our commonwealth faces the scourge of addiction head on, we are fortunate to have more and more options for recovery. HB 248 provides guidelines for those interested in operating a recovery house to ensure consistent standards of care and services across the state,” said Rep. Samara Heavrin. “I appreciate my local officials for working with me on this issue, my fellow lawmakers for their bipartisan support and the Governor for signing it into law.”
“House Bill 248 is transformative for the City of Elizabethtown,” Mayor Jeff Gregorysaid. “There are over 80 sober-living facilities in our city and we’re thrilled to be able to get legislation in place that will enable us to monitor and enforce regulations that secure these facilities are operating correctly for those at the most vulnerable stage of their life.”
Mayor Gregory added, “It’s a great day for recovery patients and it’s a great day for Kentucky cities, like Elizabethtown.”
“HB248 ensures quality standards of care will be provided to those vulnerable individuals who are seeking addiction services,” said Elizabethtown Police Chief Jeremy Thompson. “It will also help protect our citizens from bad actors being brought in from out of town who aren’t interested in recovery and who are victimizing our citizens.”
House Bill 148
This legislation will ensure direct payments from health insurance to the facilities providing care. Ultimately, this will not just help with the direct payments, but make things easier for those receiving treatment and their family members involved.
“We are committed to removing key barriers so that more Kentuckians battling opioid addiction can get help,” said Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander. “The cabinet’s implementation of the Governor’s and General Assembly’s initiatives has saved lives. We will continue to partner with all our communities to make a difference, remove stigma and bring needed treatment to everyone who wants help.”
Call the KY Help Call Center at 833-8KY-HELP (833-859-4357) to speak one-on-one with a specialist who can connect Kentuckians to treatment.
Visit findhelpnowky.org to find information about available space in treatment programs and providers based on location, facility type and category of treatment needed.
Visit the KSP website to find one of KSP’s 16 posts where those suffering from addiction can be paired with a local officer who will assist with locating an appropriate treatment program. The Angel Initiative is completely voluntary, and individuals will not be arrested or charged with any violations if they agree to participate in treatment.
For a video from Gov. Beshear on available treatment and resources, and the importance of knowing how to respond to an overdose, click here.