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Ky. Chamber of Commerce program takes aim at addiction, incarceration

Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 1:14 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is launching a statewide initiative to address both prison reform and the state’s ongoing drug epidemic.

As the national COVID-19 pandemic drags on, Kentucky is still struggling to deal with these two perennial problems.

Ashli Watts, President, and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber says, “Those two things are inextricably linked. We know that the rise in corrections here in Kentucky really is a result of our opioid epidemic.”

Watts says the chamber’s goal is to tackle both issues through the Kentucky Comeback Campaign. The program’s mission is two-fold: de-stigmatizing addiction, and decreasing the state’s prison population.

"We believe that we are incarcerating some people that maybe need treatment over incarceration. So, looking at that, we want to make sure that we have an open network for people to find resources, to be able to find a job, or find a place to get some help."

The chamber initially planned to take the program on the road and meet with employers one-on-one.

"Unfortunately, because of COVID, we'll now be doing that virtually. But, we still want to reach out to the community statewide, and really look at how tackling the issue of the opioid epidemic can lead to positive change."

For more information on the Kentucky Comeback Campaign’s mission, click here to visit their website.

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