Our View: Grant could mean saved lives locally

Word that Clark County would be included in a new program aimed at curbing the opioid epidemic comes with much celebration.

It was announced Thursday that Clark County will be a part of a federal-funded University of Kentucky study tasked with decreasing opioid-related deaths.

The $87 million grant will used to implement programs and conduct research in 16 Kentucky counties, and is the largest grant ever secured by the University of Kentucky.

The four-year study aims to save lives, and is projected it could decrease opioid deaths by as much as 40 percent over the course of the study.

More than 47,000 Americans died of an opioid overdose in 2017.

In Kentucky, the overall opioid overdose rate is 45.66 per 100,000, according to the NIH.

The problem runs deep, according to the press release — “More than 2 million Americans live with addiction to opioids. Life expectancy in this country has dropped — fueled, in large measure, by drug overdose deaths. Kentucky currently is ranked fifth in the United States for opioid overdose deaths and has suffered through the opioid epidemic since its inception.”

Kentucky has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic.

It would be impossible to find someone who hasn’t been touched either personally or indirectly by the epidemic.

There are huge economic, social and other impacts on communities because of this horrific epidemic.

Now, Clark County is lucky to be part of a study that might actually implement changes that save the lives of our neighbors, friends and family.

The money is actually there, which means the possibilities are endless.

Local programs partnering with the study predict the implementation could be broad-reaching, involving everything from education programs to possible partnerships with the local detention center.

We have talked time again about ideas to tackle the drug problem in our community. One huge hurdle has always been funding. With this grant, that hurdle can be overcome and we can see actual results.

We are beyond ready to see our community become a safer more vibrant place with the help of this study and this funding.