LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky leaders gathered at a four-hour Louisville forum Saturday looking for new ways to address Kentucky’s opioid crisis.

Attorney General Andy Beshear was among several speakers at the event hosted by the Bridges of Hope Neighborhood Place.  Psychologist Dr. Pat McKiernan with Sober Solutions House spoke about the addictive hold opioids have on the brain.

"We need to give people time, because all drugs affect the brain, impair the brains function, and the brain like any other organ in the body, once it becomes impaired, it takes time for it to heal," McKiernan

Maj. Brittney Garrett with the Jeffersontown Police Department spoke about the Angel Program, which guides people to treatment without the fear of new charges.

"We are still going to enforce the law for drug traffickers and people coming into our communities with guns and drugs," Garrett said. "We're definitely gonna be there to enforce it, but we are also opening our arms for people who need help."

Beshear said more people need access to treatment, but he also believes more needs to be done to go after the supply.

"It's the single greatest threat to the lives of Kentuckians, killing four people every day," he said. "But it's also the single greatest threat to our families."

Beshear said the overdose death rate is likely even higher because many coroners do not have the funds to test everyone for opioid overdoses.   

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