LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission held a town hall in Louisville’s West End Thursday to hear how the public would like $478 million in opioid settlement funds to be spent. 

What You Need To Know

  • The Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Committee is seeking public input on how opioid settlement funds should be spent 

  • The commission held a town hall in Louisville's West End Thursday

  • Neighbors shared their ideas for the funding

  • Kentucky is expected to receive $478 million over 18 years

“We’re talking about prevention,” said Shreeta Waldon, executive director of the Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition. “We’re talking about ensuring that our communities know what exists in the community to help them.”

James Weathers, a nurse who lives in the West End, read a list of names of people he knew who died from opioids, including his cousin. 

He told the commission that he would like the funding to go toward education, as people have been using substances they never suspected contained fentanyl. 

Mike Coleman, who has been in recovery 27 years, said he wanted to see a new treatment facility in the West End. 

“This takes a treatment center, full-fledged in West Louisville...50 beds, staffed, with nurses, with a life skills center for people to go,” said Coleman. “Anything short of that, in my opinion, is not enough.”

Data shared by commission show the rate of overdose deaths among Black men in Kentucky surpassed white men for the first time last year, and that the predominantly Black West End of Louisville saw the highest number of overdose deaths last year — 157 people. 

“Because of the way fentanyl has penetrated our communities, we’re much closer to the beginning of this problem than the end, and now it has assumed a deadly dimension that is most relevant to African Americans, not just here in the West End but across the state, and we want to make sure that we are responsive to those realities as best we possibly can be,” Bryan Hubbard, the commission’s executive director, told Spectrum News 1. 

The settlement proceeds will come to Kentucky over the next 18 years and organizations applying for the funding must meet certain criteria, according to the commission.

The commission hopes to give out the first awards by the late spring, Hubbard said.