Correction: A previous version of this story said Kentucky received a $900 million opioid settlement. Kentucky actually received more than $842 million. (April 28, 2023)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As part of Kentucky’s opioid settlement, over $842 million was awarded this week to 24 organizations combating the epidemic.
Without exaggeration, Thursday was a day Shreeta Waldon may never forget.
“It’s heartening for us to be able to be such a small agency and for us to make such a meaningful impact where people trust the work we do,” Waldon said.
The executive director of Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition says the $500,000 her organization is receiving from the state is the single largest grant it has ever received.
“We’re not just looking at dollars. We’re looking at who are we impacting? Who are the individuals in the community we are impacting?” Waldon added.
Two dozen programs, large and small, across the state are receiving portions of the opioid abatement money announced and distributed by the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office.
A news conference was held at the State Capitol rotunda Thursday morning. Among many of the benefiting nonprofits and organizations in attendance were Waldon and colleague Erica Williams-Archie.
“The energy was wonderful being in the rotunda and hearing of the organizations that are both here in Jefferson county as well as across the state,” Williams-Archie said.
Millions more is expected later this year as Kentucky alone is being awarded nearly $900 million in settlements. Waldon says the $500,000 KY Harm Reduction Coalition is receiving translates to increasing their reach into many more counties and communities straddled by the opioid crisis.
“People know who we are in Jefferson County, but that’s not enough,” Waldon said. She wants to see naloxone, also known as Narcan, provided to all communities, as well as fentanyl test strips.
“You’re going to see more treatment programs, like from Volunteers of America, who really focus on treatment and recovery efforts,” Waldon continued.
There’s no doubt says grant money will save lives, prevent overdose deaths, lead people to successful treatment programs and help reduce the use of opioids, Waldon said.
The Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission oversees distributing half of the settlement money. The other half will go directly to city and county governments for distribution.