Kentucky Chamber launches statewide campaign to change the stigma around substance use disorder and make positive changes in the criminal justice system

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In an effort to help Kentuckians struggling with substance use disorder, assist businesses in developing recovery-friendly work environments, and engage Kentuckians interested in smart criminal justice reforms, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce announced Wednesday the launch of “Kentucky Comeback,” a statewide initiative in partnership with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

The opioid epidemic has led to a dramatic rise in Kentucky’s prison population. Between 2012 and 2016, admissions to Kentucky prisons increased 32 percent, growth that is directly tied to the opioid epidemic plaguing our state. The “Kentucky Comeback” campaign recognizes the Commonwealth must adopt criminal justice reforms to control corrections costs and help Kentuckians recover and obtain employment while protecting public safety.

Kentucky’s business community is in a unique position to help change Kentucky’s attitudes, policies, and approach to criminal justice and addiction. Over the past 10 years, the Kentucky Chamber has worked with the legislature to enact reforms of Kentucky’s criminal justice system and help curb the opioid epidemic, but more work must be done to make meaningful, long-term change.

“It’s time for change in Kentucky,” said Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts. “The number of people affected by the criminal justice system and opioid epidemic grows each and every day. Those who believe in Kentucky’s future know we have to help people come back from addiction and incarceration to rejoin their communities and families.”

To begin this wave of change, the Kentucky Chamber Foundation has partnered with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to create “Kentucky Comeback: Hope, Healing, and a Fair Chance” with the mission of building a broad-based coalition to dramatically transform the state’s approach to addiction and criminal justice.

Launched on July 1, the “Kentucky Comeback” website seeks to build a criminal justice reform network and attract a greater number of businesses and leaders across the state to engage in criminal justice reforms with the goal of fewer Kentuckians incarcerated, more individuals gainfully employed, and a stronger, healthier Kentucky economy.

The campaign website also features tools for employers, resources connected to recovery centers, legislative priorities and victories, and much more. The initiative will also include the launch of a statewide marketing and advertising campaign in coordination with Gray Kentucky Television to inform and bring Kentuckians together to make positive changes on these issues.

Find more information about the “Kentucky Comeback: Hope, Healing and a Fair Chance” campaign at kentuckycomeback.com.

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