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Alvarado to chair Substance Use Recovery Task Force

The Senate Majority Caucus has announced its task force appointments for the 2020 interim session of the Kentucky General Assembly. Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, has been appointed to serve as Senate co-chair of the Substance Use Recovery Task Force.

This task force will review all substance use recovery grants and efforts underway in the commonwealth. The duties of the task force shall include, but are not limited to, the following:

— Examining the University of Kentucky HEALing grant, the Kentucky Opioid Response Efforts and any other substance use recovery grants for efforts in the state.

— Making recommendations to the appropriate parties such as the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet to establish pathways for reentry of substance-involved individuals.

— Analyzing the capacity for Medicaid funds to be used for addiction treatment for those who are incarcerated.

“As a physician, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve on this task force as co-chairman. In light of the pandemic, this group will be a vital tool in addressing the ongoing issue of substance abuse here in the commonwealth,” Alvarado said. “It’s heartbreaking to see some of the side effects COVID-19 is having on our society. Policies that have been meant to control the novel coronavirus have brought about health concerns, as well as many anxieties and financial hardships that can lead to higher rates of substance abuse. In Fayette County, fatal overdoses are up nearly 42 percent. Relapses are on the rise. We still cannot fully appreciate the extent of the pandemic’s influence on substance abuse, but we can work ahead to alleviate its potential harm and assist those in need. Kentuckians can rest assured that this task force, and the General Assembly, will continue to work hard for their needs.”

The Substance Use Recovery Task Force will meet monthly during the 2020 Interim of the General Assembly. Findings will be submitted to the Legislative Research Commission for referral to the appropriate committee or committees by Dec. 1, 2020.

The first meeting of the task force is scheduled in Frankfort on Tuesday, July 14, at 3 p.m.