Addressing the Opioid Epidemic in Appalachia

Hickory Hill Classroom

Hickory Hill Classroom

The drug crisis in Appalachia has reached an all-time high. Appalachian males ages 25 to 44 experience a 72 percent higher overdose mortality rate versus males in other parts of the country. For Appalachian females ages 25 to 34, the rate is 92 percent higher. Opioid abuse is destroying the lives of those afflicted with addiction and harming the economy in Appalachia.

To succeed in uplifting Appalachia, we have to work to build multi-sector strategies that will both address one of the biggest hazards facing our population and eliminate the poverty that fuels the addiction cycle. Fahe strongly believes that a collaborative approach is needed to address the urgent need for drug recovery facilities, as well as the long-term needs for safe, transitional housing and “second chance” education and employment opportunities.

Kentucky spends approximately $2.1 billion annually on addiction. Of this amount, only 7% is spent on prevention and treatment. The remaining 93% is spent on the consequences of addiction; however, the return on investment for recovery services is highly beneficial. It is estimated for every $1 dollar spent on Kentucky recovery services, the state receives $2.71 in savings. Fahe has lead the development and financing of several new recovery centers, resulting in 500 beds and generating $43 million in savings for the state. Fahe also steers a cross-collaborative drug recovery task force made up of addiction recovery specialists, healthcare practitioners, private sector employers, government officials, job-placement specialists, housing providers, and community development organizations.

Fahe has achieved outstanding success in providing solutions that work in “difficult to serve” areas and for vulnerable people. We leverage this reputation, our collaborative expertise, and 30+ years of experience to influence the flow and administration of impactful resources to improve recovery efforts in Appalachia. While there is no one silver bullet to fix the addiction crisis, providing paths to recovery will help to restore hope, repair lives, and reduce the impact of addiction in the region.