Kentucky is getting $10 million to battle opioid addiction from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Gov. Andy Beshear announced on Wednesday.
The commonwealth is one of seven states being gifted funds to fight the opioid epidemic by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropic organization.
“Winning the battle against the opioid crisis and helping Kentuckians overcome addiction is a top priority for my administration,” said Beshear in a statement. “This joint venture will allow us to further deliver the services and support our people need to achieve recovery and prevent future pain and suffering.”
Nearly 2,000 Kentuckians died of drug overdoses in 2020, an all-time high for the state and a nearly 50 percent increase over 2019’s overdose deaths.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, the largest increase in drug overdose deaths has been among Black Kentuckians, with those numbers rising 64 percent.
During the 12-month period ending in April 2021, more than 100,000 people died of overdoses in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said earlier this month. It was the first time the agency had recorded more than 100,000 deaths in a year.
The public-private partnership between the commonwealth and Bloomberg has a timeline of five years. In a video message, Beshear said the partnership would provide Kentucky with resources, funding and expertise and that more details would be released soon.
“Even with all we’re doing with our partners across the state, there is still so much more that has to be done,” he said in the video announcing the partnership. “We need more partners and more resources to win this fight.”
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