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Town Hall tonight so state Opioid Abatement Commission can hear from victims, families

Staff report

A Town Hall meeting will take place at the Kenton County Government Center in Covington tonight to hear from individuals and their families who have been affected by the state’s opioid crisis.

One of eight Town Hall meetings to be held around the state will help the Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission to determine distribution of the Commonwealth’s portion of a $478 million settlement with opioid companies for their role in exacerbating the deadly opioid crisis in the state.

The Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission was created by the General Assembly’s unanimous passage of House Bill 427, which Attorney General Daniel Cameron supported alongside other legislators, the Kentucky League of Cities, and the Kentucky Association of Counties.

The Commission is comprised of nine voting and two non-voting members and includes stakeholders from, among others, the prevention and treatment community, law enforcement, and victims of the opioid crisis.

Attorney General Cameron appointed W. Bryan Hubbard as the Executive Director of the Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission. In this position, Hubbard will oversee and administer the Commission on behalf of the Attorney General’s Office.

“It is ground zero for this pandemic,” Hubbard said recently. “It is an issue of the pain and suffering that is being experienced in the community. . .and the commission wants to hear the truth of what has happened.”

He said the commission will use the information they gather to prioritize funding projects. The goal is to start distributing the grant money by January 1, 2023.

The Covington Town Hall meeting hosted by the Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission will be held from 6-8 p.m. tonight at the Kenton County Government Center.

Three previous Town Hall meetings have been held in Hazard, Ashland, and Pikeville and five more will continue at sites around the state through the end of November.

Members of the Commission and public officials will be on hand to provide an overview of the opioid settlement and a power point of the Commission’s mission — and to listen to the public.

The Commission hopes to hear from individuals living with Opioid Use Disorder, family members of those victims, and members from the community who want to share their experiences.

Attorney General Cameron announced the historic multi-state $26 billion settlement with opioid distributors and a manufacturer in February.

“This historic $478 million settlement provides the Commonwealth with funds to meaningfully address the effects of the opioid epidemic,” he said then. “We want to ensure that the opioid companies are held accountable for their roles in creating this crisis and that Kentucky receives the funding it is due for the harm these terrible drugs have inflicted upon our neighbors, friends, and loved ones. . .”

The Commonwealth will receive the maximum of $478 million over a period of 18 years. This is the second largest multistate agreement in U.S. history, second only to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.

“The Commission is committed to administering the Commonwealth’s portion of the opioid settlement funds with honesty, transparency, and accountability,” said Hubbard. “We encourage individuals and organizations committed to waging war on this tragedy to submit their intent to apply.”
Organizations that intend to apply for OAAC grants may visit ag.ky.gov/OAAC. Questions regarding the grant funding process should be directed to Alison Chavies by calling 502-696-5638 or Scott Hornbuckle at 502-234-4194 or by emailing kyoaac@ky.gov.

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