By: Dr. Eli Capilouto
President, University of Kentucky

Last year, more than 300 people in Louisville died from drug overdoses associated with heroin or opioids. According to one recent report, one million Kentuckians are directly impacted in some way by the scourge of drugs.

We know drugs don’t discriminate by ZIP-code or neighborhood; race or ethnicity.

What can be done?

In addition to treatment and counseling, we should double down on funding for basic science research. Research is a wager on the future.

It’s the powerful idea that brainpower, harnessed in common cause against insidious disease, can find answers.

Kentucky's public universities last year received $151 million for research against our worst diseases from the National Institutes of Health.

We know it works. Because of federally-funded research:

  • HIV rates among children have declined by 90 percent;
  • Effective treatments have been developed for strokes;
  • Deaths from heart disease have declined by nearly 70 percent.

That's only a partial list. It's why Senator Mitch McConnell worked with UK to secure a competitive federal research grant of more than $11 million to help fight cancer.

He knows the power of research.

Last year, UK received $11 million in federal grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fighting substance abuse and addiction. The University of Louisville garnered another $9.5 million in federal research grants for this battle.

We shouldn't tolerate 300 overdose deaths in Kentucky's largest community. Aided by the power of research, we don’t have to.

I’m Eli Capilouto, and that’s my Point of View.

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