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Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission awards $10.5 million for diversion pilot project

Program will allow conditional dismissal for qualifying individuals struggling with substance use disorder

Funding is now in place for an 11-county pilot project aimed at increasing access to addiction recovery services for qualifying defendants in the criminal justice system. This week, the Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission (OAAC) awarded $10.5 million for the Behavioral Health Conditional Dismissal Pilot Program.

“This award of opioid settlement dollars is the first step toward bringing hope and help to Kentuckians struggling with substance use disorder,” Attorney General Cameron said in a release announcing the funding.

The new program is the result of Senate Bill 90 that passed in the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2022 session. It allows eligible defendants charged with nonviolent offenses to receive treatment for substance abuse and/or behavioral health disorder as an alternative to incarceration. Treatment services can include outpatient or inpatient treatment, cognitive and behavioral therapies, educational services, vocational services and housing assistance.

Upon successful completion of the program, the charges would be dismissed.

The program is authorized for four years in Christian, Clark, Daviess, Greenup, Hopkins, Kenton, Letcher, Madison, McCracken, Oldham and Pulaski counties.

“Co-sponsoring Senate Bill 90 is one way I am working to help Kentuckians charged with nonviolent drug offenses break the cycle of addiction,” Senate President Robert Stivers said. “I am thankful to Senator (Brandon) Storm and (Sen. Whitney) Westerfield for co-sponsoring this bill and to Attorney General Cameron for securing the opioid settlement funding that made this pilot program possible.” 

This funding for the Behavioral Health Conditional Dismissal Pilot Program marks the first award from Kentucky’s portion of the national opioid settlement. As of January 2023, $842 million has been announced for Kentucky, half of which will go directly to local governments. The other half of the settlement funds is being administered by the state, through the OAAC, as outlined in House Bill 427 that passed in 2021.

Organizations can learn more about the OAAC’s grant process on the Attorney General’s website.

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