Mayor names Opioid Abatement Commission

Watch news conference

Mayor Linda Gorton today announced the creation of the Opioid Abatement Commission, which will make recommendations to the administration and Urban County Council on how to best use funds received from the National Opioid Litigation settlement.

“These funds present an important new opportunity for us to help our people in their battle with addiction,” Mayor Linda Gorton said.

Gorton named Dr. Stephanie M. Raglin, a licensed clinical alcohol and drug counselor, and certified clinical supervisor, chair of the commission. Dr. Raglin recently earned her doctorate in ministry from Asbury Theological Seminary.

The Commission will allocate funds coming to Lexington from drug companies that helped fuel the epidemic. Like many cities and states, Lexington joined a lawsuit with multiple defendants that has resulted in an agreement that will provide significant resources. Some defendants have settled; others have declared bankruptcy. The litigation is ongoing.

“We have been in the trenches fighting the opioid battle for several years,” Gorton said.

In 2018 the City won a $2 million federal grant to combat overdoses, and in 2022 won another $2 million grant. Working with the Health Department and first responders, the City used the grants to purchase and distribute 34,000 individual doses of life-saving Narcan in a five-year period. In addition, 419 community trainings were conducted in the use of the drug, and 290 people were referred for treatment and other community services.

“Despite our efforts, overdose deaths have increased over the past four years,” Gorton said. “We have had setbacks because of the pandemic and the isolation it produced, and because of the introduction of fentanyl. The opioid settlement funds will help us make progress.”

In addition to Dr. Raglin, the Commission includes Margaret Pisacano, Matt Webster, Connie Neal, Laurie Brock, Ciera Bowman, Dr. Marc Woods, John Q. Moses III, Tara Stanfield, Dale Sanders, Police Chief Lawrence Weathers, County Attorney Angela Evans, and Commonwealth’s Attorney Kimberly Baird.

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