Kentucky Offers Up $8 Million to Fight Opiates

( – Kentucky’s Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced on April 28th that the state was sending $8 million to dozens of local organizations that offer drug abuse prevention and treatment services.

The money comes from a large settlement between the state and pharmaceutical companies that manufacture prescription opiate painkillers. Opiates are derived from or are synthetically similar to morphine, the addictive pain-killing substance derived from the seeds of certain poppies. Well-known names of opiate pain medications include Oxycontin and Vicodin. 

AG Cameron said “For too long, the opioid epidemic has maintained a tight and painful grip” on Kentucky, but that there is now “hope and help.”

The grants will flow from the state to organizations in small towns and cities throughout Kentucky. 

At the same time, Cameron is battling GOP challenger Kelly Craft for the governor’s seat. They will face each other in a May 16 primary. Craft said Kentucky’s drug addiction problem has gotten worse during Cameron’s tenure. She said Cameron was “a decent person”, but then asked if he could get the job done. His record as attorney general suggests otherwise, she said.

Craft’s gubernatorial campaign has focused on fighting drug addiction, and the candidate favors the death penalty for any dealers who cause the death of a Kentucky resident.

As expected, Cameron disagrees, pointing to the $900 million his office has secured through settlements with drug companies blamed for their role in the “opioid crisis.”

Others would like some credit, too. Former Attorney General and current Democratic Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear points to the lawsuits he filed against drug companies during his time in Cameron’s seat. Beshear is seeking reelection to a second gubernatorial term. 

Of the total settlement money Kentucky received, half will go directly to cities and counties. The Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission will oversee the money distributed to local agencies. Commission executive director Bryan Hubbard said the next round of grants will be announced this fall. 

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