Governor Bevin wants to spend millions more on opioid fight

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It’s not a secret cities and town across the Tri-State are fighting an uphill battle against opioid abuse. Kentucky Governor is trying to even the odds by adding $34 million to the budget to help.

The faces of change hope it is only a start.

Winds of change blow from the Capitol to the Pennyrile coal fields and beyond. Stephanie McCarty knows the power of change.

“It takes work to stay sober,” she says. “If it was easy I think we wouldn’t be sitting here talking.”

Bevin says the $34 million proposal to change the vicious cycle of opioid abuse is a “significant sum” and more than the state has ever invested. But he says it “sadly isn’t enough.”

On top of that, he called for millions more to help pregnant women who are addicted.

In Henderson at the Women’s Addiction Recovery Manor, dozens of women are on the path to recovery. Lauren Bruner was there, once.

“The struggle when you are pregnant, you know you have a child, but you still can’t stop. A lot of people don’t know what the solution is,” Bruner says. “You have to change the way you walk, talk, and dress.”

If you can change that, you can change the addiction.

“I wasn’t capable of stopping, and the strongest desire to stop wasn’t enough,” says McCarty.

The hope is, it’s not money holding back change in people looking for it. Kentucky has some of the highest rates in the nation for opioid overdoses.

“The cost on the children that are born to addicted women is too high,” Bevin said Tuesday in his State of the Commonwealth speech. His proposal is now in the hands of state lawmakers who can make changes and vote on items they want to see.

Bevin says he will detail how to spend the money later, but the women at WARM says there is no time to wait. The winds of change never stop.

“There was a lot of times I really wanted to give up,” McCarty says. “I live differently today.”

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(This story was originally published January 17, 2018)

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