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Two NKY Programs Recognized for Innovation in Addiction Treatment

Addiction Policy Forum included two Kenton County efforts in its recent announcement of ten programs using innovative approaches to opioid addiction.

The national nonprofit organization announced the ten programs in Kentucky at Churchill Downs in Louisville last week.

The HEART (Heroin Expedited Addiction Recovery Treatment) program, launched by the Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, and the substance abuse program at the Kenton County Detention Center were recognized.

“The Kentucky Innovation Now report recognizes revolutionary programs, such as HEART, that are transforming the response to addiction in Kentucky and offering solutions during a time of crisis,” said Jessica Hulsey, founder of the Addiction Policy Forum. 

HEART’s goal is getting people who face low-level, non-violent offenses out of jail and into meaningful, intensive drug treatment as soon as possible, a news release said. Counselors conduct in-jail evaluations that look at history, background, resources, family, insurance, and housing status to determine the best fit for treatment. A recommendation is made to the judge, and defendants are released without having to post a cash bond. Those who comply with treatment often receive improved plea offers which usually include shorter sentences and periods of supervision, and sometimes reduced charges.

“Instead of warehousing people in jail, we needed to get them out of cells and into treatment on the front end, not on the back end,” says Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders. “It is an honor to be recognized by Addiction Policy Forum as an innovative solution to the addiction crisis in Kentucky.”

-Staff report