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VOCAL-KY APPLAUDS INSTALLMENT OF OPIOID SETTLEMENT FUNDING FOR HARM REDUCTION IN LOUISVILLE
Louisville is One of 120 Counties in Kentucky That’s Deeply Impacted by the Worsening Opioid Crisis
LOUISVILLE, K.Y. — On Thursday, Mayor Greenberg announced the first installment of $57 million in opioid settlement funds for harm reduction organizations in Louisville. In response, VOCAL-KY released the following statement, attributable to Shameka Parrish-Wright, Executive Director for VOCAL-KY:
“VOCAL-KY is honored to see our community partners included in the plans for opioid settlement payouts. Louisville deserves funding for a menu of services, and resources for short and long term healing plans. Our members and leaders will feel the impact of these investments, and it will help us to continue advocating to save lives.
That said, we can’t overlook people who are homeless and being actively displaced – many who are immunocompromised, dealing with mental health issues, living with HIV, and are not connected to treatment of any kind. Harm reduction is housing, as much as it is public health tools.
We look forward to the public application process being equitable, and spent on what the directly impacted people of Louisville have identified as the biggest needs: housing, mobile services, emergency shelter, harm reduction supplies, respite, and alternative programing and care.”
According to the CDC, Kentucky reported 197 overdose deaths in 1999. In 2020, that number jumped to 1,909 lives lost to preventable overdose. Among Black, non-Hispanic residents, overdose risk increased by 57%, and among White, non-Hispanic residents, overdose risk increased by 45% from 2019 to 2020.
As a part of VOCAL-KY’s Roadmap for Louisville Metro Government, advocates continue to call for funding for proven, life-saving harm reduction tools for all Louisvillians at risk of overdose, like low barrier Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), naloxone, and harm reduction services for the entire state of Kentucky.