The plan also provides $2.52 million to pay for 30 scholarships per year for those who cannot afford substance abuse treatment.
Beshear created by Executive Order a Substance Abuse Advisory Committee to oversee the settlement funding. Conway will chair the committee. Other members will be Jane Beshear; Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes; Justice and Public Safety Secretary J. Michael Brown; Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy Director Van Ingram; Kentucky House Corporation CEO Kathryn Peters; and Dr. Allen Brenzel, director of the Department for Behavioral Health.
Over the next two years, the settlement will also provide $6 million to upgrade Kentucky’s electronic tracking system for prescription drugs (KASPER); $1.5 million to the University of Kentucky to develop best practices for juvenile substance abuse treatment; $250,000 to create a database to evaluate the success rate of juvenile treatment; and $1 million to the Kentucky Department of Education to intervene with at-risk children.
Jane Beshear said the money to expand and improve juvenile treatment is especially important because “the most important time to make an intervention is when it first occurs.”
Conway credited the first lady, who has worked with Recovery Kentucky since her husband became governor six years ago, with the idea of using some of the drug company settlement money for improving treatment options. Conway noted a University of Kentucky study indicated that the state has only one-tenth of the number of treatment beds it needs.
Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, did not attend the press conference and later told reporters he is concerned the dispensation of the settlement funds circumnavigates a Kentucky law requiring such funds go into the state’s General Fund.
Stivers said he had no objection to the way the money will be used but thinks KRS 48.005 requires the money be appropriated through the General Fund.