New pilot program announced to fight opioid misuse in Eastern Kentucky

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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - USDA Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett announced a plan to fight opioid misuse Friday at the 2018 SOAR Summit in Pikeville.

Syringe and Opioid Medications, Photo Date: 7/14/2017 / Photo: USDA / (MGN)

"Few rural counties have access to treatment if someone is struggling," said Hazlett.

Hazlett, along with Kentucky State Director Hilda Legg, unveiled a pilot program that will be launched in Kentucky to help people looking for recovery from substance misuse.

This transitional housing pilot program is the first of its kind in the country. USDA Rural Development is partnering with the Isaiah House to provide transitional housing and recovery resources.

Hazlett said programs like this one will help fight opioid addiction in rural areas.

"The impact it is having on the economy and quality of life is a threat to rural prosperity," said Hazlett.

Another program announced is a mobile opioid clinic that will travel around Magoffin County.

"The idea of a mobile unit is bringing people resources to where they are," said Hazlett.

Health care workers at the SOAR summit said the grants awarded are needed in Eastern Kentucky.

"I think they are great. They are obviously recognizing that there is a problem with transportation and access to treatment," said Sydney Cox, a behavioral therapist at Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation.

Hazlett said one of the many problems Eastern Kentuckians face is not being able to access modern health care as easily as people living in a city. She hopes these grants will change that.

More than 1.5 million was also awarded to numerous programs in Eastern Kentucky. The money will go towards treatment of mental and behavioral health issues, equipment, women's health, youth recovery and more in the fight against opioid misuse.

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