When Bryan Hubbard was appointed Executive Director of the newly formed Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission in 2021, he had already been tracking psychedelic-assisted therapies in the media for three years. Kentucky had recently been awarded $842 million in settlement funds from lawsuits against opioid distributors and manufacturers for their role in an epidemic that has hit Kentucky particularly hard. The commission was tasked with allocating half of that money toward treatment efforts, with the other half going directly to local programs.
Hubbard felt compelled to do more than prop up the status quo, which clearly has not been working. There were over 80,000 deaths in the U.S. from opioid overdoses last year and Kentucky's death rate is twice the national average. Current treatments for opioid use disorder, which center on maintenance opioids such as buprenorphine and methadone, are effective for about 25 percent of patients.
"My own brother died of a fentanyl overdose in January. Families all over the Commonwealth and country have been impacted," says Ben Chandler, a former Attorney General of the state who served five terms in Congress. "What we have been doing doesn't work well enough and costs too much money. Psychedelics have great potential, from what I can see."
To build a hub of resources for bereaved families, to create and maintain public gardens to honor of those lost to substance use and other deaths of despair, and to explore viable solutions for those suffering from substance use and mental health issues.
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We aim to be a nurturing community of bereaved families to collaborate and support each other. We are redefining what joy, success, and normal look like and we welcome your input.