LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The city of Louisville will receive $3.5 million over the next two years, as part of approximately $30 million to be paid out to the city over the next 18 years, the health department said.
The funds come from a multi-state opioid settlement with pharmaceutical distributors totaling $26 billion.
“We wanted to really focus our initial efforts on supporting some of the existing efforts that are currently working in our city to reduce death and use evidence-based interventions to address the most impacted communities,” said Ben Goldman, community health administrator for the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness.
Under a proposal to the Metro Council outlining how the first two years of funding could be spent, about $2.6 million would be set aside to promote long-term recovery and address barriers to treatment like a lack of transportation or housing.
That’s work Seeds of New Leaf’s Rolling Recovery Van is already doing, said Goldman. As Spectrum News 1 reported in August, the team works to connect people to recovery and mental health resources.
“A lot of people don’t want to come to the facilities to get help,” said Chimas Houston, who does community outreach with the van. “I figure, if we come to them, you know it will be a lot easier for them to get to us.”
The health department proposes spending about $744,000 of the initial funds on overdose prevention and harm reduction. That means expanding efforts to distribute the overdose-reversing drug naloxone.
“Our department has done a spectacular job getting Narcan into the community, but we recognize that there are people who would prefer to receive Narcan from a trusted community partner, rather than a government agency and we support that,” said Goldman.
A state report shows last year, 569 people in Jefferson County died from a drug overdose — 56 more lives lost than the year before.
“Virtually no resident is untouched by the overdose crisis that our community is experiencing and many people in our community have lost dozens of friends and relatives to fatal drug poisonings,” said Goldman.
Under the proposal, another $134,000 would go toward addressing the toll of substance use and the underlying root causes.
The health department expects that after the first $3.5 million, the city will receive between $1 and $2 million each year over the remaining years of the payout.