Addiction Policy Forum Launches New Chapter, Statewide Resource to Address Opioid Crisis in Kentucky
Confidential phone line operated by addiction counselors and online portal with lifesaving resources are first step in statewide efforts to help families impacted by substance use disorders
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Addiction Policy Forum (APF), a leading nonprofit tackling the opioid crisis, today announced the launch of its Kentucky chapter, led by state chair Jennifer Stepp. To help people across the state who are struggling with substance use disorders, and to support their loved ones, APF also launched its Addiction Resource Center (ARC) in Kentucky. The ARC offers two ways to find lifesaving help: a confidential phone line that can be reached by dialing 1-833-301-HELP (4357), and an online portal that can be accessed at www.addictionresourcecenter.org.
“Kentucky has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. In 2016, the state saw more than 1,400 deaths from drug overdoses, and opioids accounted for 70 percent of those fatalities,” said Jessica Hulsey Nickel, president and CEO of APF. “It is clear more services are needed to help those struggling with substance use. The ARC will remove barriers to treatment by connecting individuals and families with trusted resources and compassionate support in an easily accessible way.”
The Addiction Resource Center website is a comprehensive, interactive portal that helps individuals and families struggling with addiction learn about substance use disorders and access help. The ARC features a unique database of carefully vetted local treatment providers, including information about the treatment types, accepted payment methods, available medications and patient groups for each facility—information that is often difficult for people to find on their own. The site dispels harmful myths about addiction by presenting the science behind the disorder in easy-to-read formats, guiding concerned individuals through a self-assessment tool and helping them develop a proposed action plan.
Kentucky residents impacted by substance use disorders can also receive confidential and compassionate support, information about local treatment or recovery resources, and education about substance use and addiction via phone by calling 1-833-301-HELP (4357). The ARC phone line is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. Addiction counselors, licensed clinicians and peer recovery support advocates staff the ARC line and can provide callers with support from peers who have experienced addiction and loss related to substance use in their lives.
APF’s efforts in Kentucky will be led by state chair Jennifer Stepp, who resides in Shepherdsville (near Louisville). She became involved in addressing substance use after her family, as well as her community, were severely impacted by the opioid epidemic. Stepp is the founder of the Bullitt Opioid Addiction Team (BOAT) in Bullitt County, Ky. The organization educates people about the dangers of substance use, gives out free overdose rescue kits and teaches children and adults how to use medication that reverses the effects of an overdose. To learn more about BOAT, visit the group’s website and Facebook page.
“I look forward to expanding my work to fight the opioid crisis in Kentucky,” said Stepp. “The ARC is an important addition to the resources available for individuals and families in our state, and I believe the phone line and website will enable more people to get help when they need it most.”
In addition to launching the ARC in the state, APF’s Kentucky chapter will work on education, prevention, treatment, recovery, overdose reversal and criminal justice issues to ensure the full spectrum of solutions is being deployed. The chapter will engage a wide range of stakeholders to create specific action plans, initiate new collaborations and deploy additional localized resources for the direct benefit of all Kentucky residents.
APF’s eight strategic priorities include:
- Help Families in Crisis: Provide new, effective resources and support for patients and families in crisis.
- Expand Treatment Access and Integration into Healthcare: Through partnerships and research, develop resources, protocols and tools for physicians, healthcare systems and the workforce to integrate treatment of substance use disorders into healthcare.
- Drive Discovery: Invest in research on how to treat, prevent and cure addiction and its related disorders.
- Expand Recovery Support: Properly prioritize and secure resources for the recovery support programs that individuals need in their communities.
- Prevention:Increase funding for and the number of prevention programs in Kentucky and nationwide.
- Protect Children Impacted by Parental Substance Use Disorder: Expand resources to support children who have a family member with a substance use disorder.
- Reframe the Criminal Justice System: Partner with key stakeholders to re-envision how the criminal justice system responds to addiction.
- Advocate and Educate: Intensify the urgency around addiction and mobilize bold action through advocacy and engagement.