Initiatives to address substance use disorder and programs to combat the drug epidemic recognized during Overdose Awareness Day

On Thursday Governor Andy Beshear signed a proclamation recognizing August 31 as Overdose Awareness Day, highlighting key initiatives and progress to addressing overdose deaths and substance use disorder across Kentucky.

Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on August 31 each year to raise awareness of drug overdoses, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, and acknowledge the impact that the substance use disorder epidemic has had on communities and families.

During the press conference, Beshear celebrated that Kentucky was one of eight states in the entire country to see significant decreases in overdose deaths last year. He also touted the fact that Kentucky has seen a 50% increase in the amount of available treatment beds in recent years.

“It’s days like today that are so very important. We come together to recognize the issues we have with addiction,” said Addiction Recovery Care Senior Vice President of Business Operations Megan Coldiron as she shared her recovery journey. She named several loved ones she has lost to overdose during the course of her recovery and stressed the importance of making sure each individual knows they matter, and that everyone deserves a chance at recovery.

Beshear noted key pieces of legislation that have contributed to Kentucky’s progress, including House Bill 248 during the 2023 session which establishes statewide minimum standards for the operation of recovery residences in Kentucky and helps more Kentuckians access quality recovery housing.

He also highlighted efforts by groups including the Kentucky Counterdrug Program, a partnership with the Kentucky National Guard and Kentucky State Police that has seized more than 153,000 fentanyl pills so far in 2023.

Beshear named many other groups including the Kentucky Chamber Foundation that are working on this effort.

Also on Thursday, the Kentucky Chamber Foundation’s Workforce Recovery Program hosted the fourth cohort of the Fair Chance Academy, a training sponsored by the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, where business leaders learn about resources and practices to support hiring individuals in recovery or coming out of incarceration.

Watch the press conference that recognized Overdose Awareness Day on Facebook starting at minute 30.

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