US government pouring resources into heroin problem - WDRB 41 Louisville News

US government pouring resources into heroin problem

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The federal government is throwing new resources at the growing heroin problem in Kentucky and throughout the nation.

“It's not a shock anymore,” said John Fogarty with The Healing Place. “A few years ago it was. I guess it's one of those evils we are becoming more and more accustomed to.”

That’s why the U.S. Senate passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA, this week.

“This is big step having America look at this as a public health measure,” Fogarty said.

The measure still has to make its way through the House of Representatives, but passed 94-1 in the senate.

“It's wonderful to have that support, and the amazing thing about CARA is it was a bipartisan vote,” Fogarty said. “It's not a Republican or Democrat thing. It's an American thing.”

The bill would help create education programs about addiction in public schools. It also shifts treatment philosophy more toward medication-assisted treatment.

“That doesn't mean there isn't more to be done,” said Senate majority leader (R) Mitch McConnell. “Kentuckians know there is.”

That's not the only step the federal government took this week.

More than $300,000 of grant money from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is headed to Family Health Centers in Louisville. It’s part of a more than $10 million package for Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

According to Chief Administrative Officer Bart Irwin, Family Health Centers is planning on hiring three additional substance abuse workers.

For Fogarty, the heroin problem is big, but its more than just getting the drug off the street.

“Let's say right now we had the power to pull heroin out of Louisville, they would just switch. There are very few people who just do one drug,”  he said. “I look at it as a constant battle of addiction.”

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