The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the cost of prescription opioid misuse in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including health care, lost productivity, addiction treatment and criminal justice. In 2017, approximately 2.2 million children were directly affected by parental opioid use or their own use, and we know that Kentucky children have been particularly hard hit.

There is a clear connection of adult and adolescent opioid use to childhood trauma. While there are common sense policy solutions that can prevent and mitigate Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), such as experiencing parental substance misuse or incarceration, we cannot take bold measures without increased public investment. However, an opportunity exists to bring in tens of millions of new funds to the Commonwealth through multiple opioid settlement negotiations that are underway.

We believe it is critical to ensure that any new funds delivered to Kentucky as part of these settlements are dedicated to support the children who have been hurt by the opioid epidemic, as well as go upstream in efforts to prevent opioid use and mitigate childhood trauma.

​​The Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission was created by the General Assembly’s passage of House Bill 427 in 2021. Attorney General Cameron appointed Bryan Hubbard as the Executive Director of the Commission, which is comprised of nine voting and two non-voting members and includes stakeholders from, among others, the prevention and treatment community, law enforcement, and victims of the opioid crisis.​ The Commission’s purpose is to oversee and distribute Kentucky’s portion of the $483 million settlement on behalf of the Attorney General’s Office from opioid companies for their role in exacerbating the crisis. ​

The Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission met for the first time on Tuesday, July 12, 2022 as a team. Here are some highlights:

1) There’s a new website that was unveiled for the general public.

2) Three subcommittees were announced: Prevention, Treatment, and Reform & Compliance.

3) Upcoming formal business meeting dates: August 29, October 4, November 15, and December 13 at the Capitol East Complex in Frankfort.

4) The Commission will hold community listening sessions happening between September 19 – November 29, 2022 in the following locations: Ashland, Hazard, Covington, Lexington, Louisville, Bowling Green and Paducah. We will share more once details are available.

As the Commission continues to meet, Kentucky Youth Advocates will be monitoring the work ahead and identifying opportunities to provide testimony, engagement, and feedback.