|Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear|
by PAT LaFLEUR
Reporter, Fort Thomas Matters
ERLANGER -- Last week, during a Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce luncheon, KY Governor Steve Beshear reaffirmed his commitment to fighting the escalating heroin issue plaguing the region, WVXU reported Monday.
Recent data places Kentucky third in highest number of drug overdose deaths, behind only West Virginia and New Mexico, according to the same report.
2014 -- and new provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that it will bring -- will add a fresh element to NKY's battle against substance abuse and trafficking, Beshear said, referring specifically to the ACA's mandate that all insurance policies must pay for substance abuse treatment.
"That [provision]'s never been in place before and that's going to be huge for providers and people who need the treatment. Because hopefully that will at least help start providing them payment that our providers need in order to provide treatment," Beshear said.
Beshear and his administration have received national praise for the launch of kynect, Kentucky's state-run health coverage marketplace, one of the most successful roll-outs of the ACA the country has seen to date.
Now, Beshear sees it as an invaluable tool in fighting the heroin epidemic.
Beshear's address did not offer specifics regarding increased funding for treatment centers and providers in the region, but did say the state is looking into options.
Currently, Northern Kentucky is home to only two major drug rehabilitation centers, with just over 200 beds total for residential treatment. With demand sure to increase, this capacity will certainly require another look.
For more in-depth analysis of Northern Kentucky's response to the rise in heroin abuse in our region, see FTM's coverage of NKY Hate's Heroin's November town hall meeting.
(Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)