Mitch McConnell, WBKO

Coordinated efforts at the federal, state and local levels are making considerable progress in the fight against opioid and substance abuse. Unfortunately, Kentucky still ranks among the hardest-hit states in the nation. Reports continue to show record-breaking overdose deaths in our Commonwealth, and families are struggling as they watch their loved ones battle addiction.

Our prevention, treatment and enforcement work is more important than ever, and I’m proud of steps we’re taking to help save lives. Kentucky may be at the center of the addiction crisis, but it’s also the home to national leaders and cutting-edge treatments that are making a real difference.

I invited President Trump’s Drug Czar—the federal official responsible for coordinating the national response—to join me in Kentucky to hear from those on the frontlines. During his time in the Bluegrass State, Director Jim Carroll visited with treatment professionals and law enforcement officers in Louisville, Covington and Lexington to hear about their innovative work and successful programs.

Together, Director Carroll and I visited Volunteers of America’s Freedom House in Louisville. Under the strong leadership of Jennifer Hancock, this facility provides residential recovery services to veterans, new and expecting mothers and their precious babies. A group of these moms joined our event with their children, showing us both the face of addiction and the incredible hope found in recovery.

The landmark opioid bill I helped shepherd to enactment last year included a provision I wrote to address the tragedy of babies born with addiction. I’m proud to see organizations like Freedom House use that law’s grant program to help those in recovery. Because of its success in Louisville, Jennifer Hancock and her team are opening a new center in Clay County to deliver much-needed treatment access in Southeast Kentucky.

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