addiction

Friends of Sinners

A faith-based addiction recovery program in Owensboro broke ground on a new residence for women this week. 

The new facility being built by the group “Friends of Sinners” is in response to a growing demand in the region.

Friends of Sinners Executive Director Joe Welsh says the group already operates five residential sites for men and women in Daviess County.  He says there’s been a trend since the group opened its first women’s residence in 2011.

“One of the things that we’ve noticed in Owensboro, in Daviess County, is that there’s a big need for beds for women. We just wanted to target that and try to increase the number of beds Owensboro has for ladies.”

The new residence will house 12 women when it opens next summer. It’s one definite, but small, step in confronting Kentucky’s drug addiction crisis that kills about 1,000 people in the state each year. That crisis is reflected in communities across the state.

Friends of Sinners was formed in 2009 and has  served about 500 men and women since its inception. Welsh says the five residential treatment centers currently have a total of 40 residents and the waiting list for the program is longer than ever.                

“Locally and statewide, Kentucky is doing a great job making a stand against this and fighting against this, and we are proud to be part of that,” said Welsh. “But at the end of the day, we are fighting a fight that is an extremely hard fight and substance abuse isn’t going away.”

The beginning of construction on the new treatment facility in Owensboro comes in the same week the U.S. Surgeon General estimates that 20 million people in the U.S. are living with a substance abuse disorder.

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A Bowling Green-based health group is expanding the number of naloxone training programs in southern Kentucky.

Naloxone is a medication that helps prevent overdose deaths from opioids such as heroin.

The Barren River District Health Department is planning trainings with Simpson County law enforcement and nurses who work in several local school districts, including Bowling Green Independent, and Barren, Butler, Hart, Logan, Metcalfe, and Simpson counties.

Chip Krause, a disease intervention specialist with the Barren River District Health Department, is leading the tsessions.

WBUR

Labels for the first long-acting opioid addiction treatment device are rolling off printing machines Friday. Trainings begin Saturday for doctors who want to learn to insert four matchstick-size rods under the skin. They contain the drug buprenorphine, which staves off opioid cravings.

The implant, called Probuphine, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday, and is expected to be available to patients by the end of June.

“This is just the starting point for us to continue to fight for the cause of patients with opioid addiction,” said Behshad Sheldon, CEO of Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures Probuphine.

But debate continues about how effective the implant will be and whether insurers will cover it.

For decades, if people on Medicaid wanted to get treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, they almost always had to rely solely on money from state and local sources.

Attorneys and judges from across the state are gathering in Louisville to discuss applying new research in addiction and brain science to better treat offenders enrolled in Kentucky’s drug courts.

Kentucky Supreme Court Justice John Minton, a former drug court judge and Bowling Green native, says that the field is only recently beginning to understand the links between emotional and substance abuse.

“We’re beginning to understand more and more about what we call ‘co-occurrences,’ and that is, there is substance abuse, but there is also some other co-existing or co-occurring mental or emotional condition, and each feeds on the other," Minton said. "And the challenge in drug court was to identify what those were, and see how to treat what first.”

Kentucky’s drug courts serve 115 of the state’s 120 counties, and offer an alternative to incarceration, which the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts says saves lives in addition to taxpayer money.

Pregnant women addicted to illegal narcotics or prescription pain pills could soon be jailed in Tennessee under a bill awaiting the governor's signature. The strict proposal enjoys bipartisan support — despite objections from doctors.