Kentucky awarded $31.48 million to fight opioid epidemic

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTVQ) – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Wednesday that Kentucky will receive $31.48 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of the State Opioid Response Grants Program. This program was created by the 21st Century Cures (CURES) Act

“Kentucky is leading the national response to the devastating opioid epidemic, and the federal resources announced today will reinforce their life-saving work,” said Senator McConnell.

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“The recent reduction in Kentucky overdose deaths has demonstrated that the increased support from our federal partners is making a huge difference in the Commonwealth,” said Van Ingram, the executive director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy.

Today’s announcement follows recent news that preliminary figures from the National Center for Health Statistics show that last year, 2018, saw the first nationwide decline in drug overdose deaths since 1990.

In the prior twenty-eight years, overdose deaths climbed. But in 2018 that number finally dropped. It was approximately a 5 percent decline nationwide. And in Kentucky, overdose deaths fell by nearly 15 percent last year — the largest drop in the state in more than a decade.

Senator McConnell recently worked with the University of Kentucky to help secure an $87 million federal competitive grant to address the opioid crisis in high-risk communities. He has also helped secure inclusion of some of Kentucky’s hardest-hit counties in the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program to promote coordination and support for law enforcement in Kentucky.

 

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.