Office of the Attorney General
General Conway Announces Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention & Treatment Project

Press Release Date:  Monday, May 19, 2014  
Contact Information:  Daniel Kemp
Deputy Communications Director
502-696-5659 (office)

Attorney General Jack Conway today announced that the University of Kentucky is being awarded $1.5 million over two years to develop a comprehensive plan for the prevention and treatment of substance abuse by adolescents. The funding is a direct result of two settlements Attorney General Conway secured with two pharmaceutical companies.

"Adolescent substance use is at epidemic proportions," General Conway said. "A 2011 study from the Centers for Disease Control documented that 66 percent of Kentucky kids have used alcohol, 37 percent have used marijuana, and 19 percent have abused prescription drugs. This grant will allow us to explore all of the resources available to Kentuckians to fight this growing problem."

The University of Kentucky will receive $1.5 million from the settlement funds that are being administered by the Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory Committee, which Gov. Steve Beshear created by executive order and is chaired by Attorney General Conway.

The grant is intended to address all aspects of adolescent substance abuse, including community and physician outreach and education, treatment plans, and outcomes measurement. Funding will be used to create and implement "UK Kentucky Kids Recovery," a program that addresses every stage in the continuum of adolescent substance abuse.

"Our goal is to develop a start-to-finish plan with elements that offer evidence-based treatment, reach out to teachers, families, primary care providers and pharmacists, and target resources to communities with the highest need," said Dr. Catherine Martin, director of UK's Division for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the director for UK Kentucky Kids Recovery. "The program will utilize only treatments with a proven track record of success."

According to Dr. Lon Hays, chair of the UK Department of Psychiatry, UK Kids Recovery contains an additional emphasis on the development of measurable outcomes benchmarks and the need to evaluate and determine the most cost-effective routes of treatment and education.

"We must be able to demonstrate that these resources are being applied using concrete, measurable goals and to benchmark our activities in a way that optimizes Kentucky's bang for the buck," Dr. Hays said.

Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs, said that this partnership could become a model for other states struggling with the issue of adolescent substance abuse.

"At UK HealthCare, we believe in Kentucky's youth and their potential to do great things for this state," Dr. Karpf said. "We have the expertise to help these kids get healthy and stay healthy, and we are appreciative of the state's partnership to aid in achieving this goal."


Attorney General Conway settled cases against two pharmaceutical companies for $32 million. The court orders filed in both settlements require that the funds be spent on substance abuse treatment programs.

Nineteen-million dollars from the settlement created the KY Kids Recovery grant program. The grants are funding comprehensive juvenile substance abuse treatment programs, both expanding treatment beds at existing facilities and creating new juvenile treatment programs with the full continuum of care, including intensive outpatient and follow-up care centers.

The settlement is also providing $500,000 to complete construction of a Recovery Kentucky center in Ashland, $2.5 million for almost 900 scholarships over two years to Recovery Kentucky centers, and $560,000 to create 14 drug-free homes for people completing and transitioning out of residential substance abuse treatment programs.

In addition, the following entities will receive funds over the next two years from the settlement:

$6 million to administer and upgrade KASPER, Kentucky's electronic prescription drug monitoring program.

$600,000 over two years to support substance abuse treatment for pregnant women by Chrysalis House in Lexington.

$400,000 over two years to support substance abuse treatment for pregnant women by Independence House in Corbin.

$1 million to develop a school-based substance abuse screening tool with the Kentucky Department of Education to intervene with at-risk children before they enter judicial or social services systems.

$250,000 to create a database to evaluate outcomes of juvenile treatment.

For more information about Attorney General Conway's efforts to fight substance abuse, visit