LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- Thursday, co-founders and board members of Lexington addiction recovery community, Voices of Hope, celebrated a federal grant with Congressman Andy Barr and Van Ingram, Executive Director for the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy.
Voices of Hope will receive almost $136,000. Barr says legislation he supported in 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act, authorized record levels of funding, up to $6,000,000,000, to states.
Barr says he then advocated with the Governor’s Office for Voices of Hope and Chrysallis House to get some of that money.
Barr recalled a meeting about a year ago with Shelley Elswick, one of the founders of Voices of Hope, during which she outlined her vision for the community.
Her son, co-founder Alex Elswick, is in long-term recovery, himself.
He says the grant will help pay for meetings that promote all forms of recovery, peer coaching that will help those in recovery find jobs and education, and a building to do all that in.
Ingram says the Bevin administration will soon make more announcements about federal funding to help with transitional housing and employment support.
“What this represents to me is a paradigm shift away from treating addiction as an acute disorder and towards treating it as the chronic brain disease that it is,” Elswick said.
“We need a strong recovery community in every town in Kentucky. That’s here in Lexington now,” Ingram said.
“What I love about Voices of Hope, because it is peer to peer recovery coaching, is that these people who are in recovery have answered their own call and their own purpose in life, which is to help others,” Barr said.
He also added Kentucky suffers from the third highest opioid overdose mortality rate in the country.