FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - The University of Kentucky has received a major grant--87 million dollars--to combat the opioid epidemic.
The funds are for a four-year study that hopes to reduce overdose deaths by 40% in 16 counties that represent more than a third of Kentucky’s population.
Kentucky and the University of Kentucky are one of only four study sites chosen across the United States.
Researchers from three state agencies will lead the project, called Kentucky CAN HEAL (Communities and Neighborhoods Helping End Addiction Long-term): The Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the University of Kentucky’s Center on Drug and Alcohol Research and the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.
“Kentuckians know the insidiousness of this disease better than most,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “The opioid epidemic does not discriminate by zip code, race, income, or any other demographic characteristic. It is not a character or moral failing, but an illness. It’s unforgiving. It touches us all," University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto said in a statement.
"We all know someone – a member of our family, a loved one, a lifelong friend or classmate – whose life has been damaged by this illness. We are all its victims. But there is hope. There is us. That is why we believe aggressive, ambitious change is possible. Indeed, it is essential. That is why we believe we can – and must – lead the way.”
The award was announced in Washington, D.C. by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar.
The 16 counties in which the program will be conducted are Fayette, Jessamine, Clark, Kenton, Campbell, Mason, Greenup, Carter, Boyd, Knox, Jefferson, Franklin, Boyle, Madison, Bourbon and Floyd counties.