Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron toured facilities in Paducah during his visit to western Kentucky on Thursday, and was impressed with the ways they are serving the region.
Cameron and Deputy Attorney General Barry Dunn toured the CenterPoint Recovery Center for Men to hear about that facility's efforts in helping people recover from addictions.
"I think it's important that folks here in McCracken County know that their attorney general is working for them," Cameron said. "I'm here (at CenterPoint) to see the good work that's being undertaken here to make sure that people who have addiction issues are rehabilitated and able to re-acclimate into society."
Cameron said there are several statewide programs that he would like to see enhanced in the battle against opioid addictions.
"We obviously have an enforcement component to our job," he said. "What we can also do is promote the good work that is being done here at CenterPoint and other facilities across the commonwealth.
"We know that resources are finite. I was just told that there are 100 people on the waiting list here at CenterPoint, so... we can perhaps provide additional resources, more folks, so they have a chance to beat addiction."
Cameron said the addiction situation in McCracken County is similar to other areas of the state.
"The idea that peers in the program are helping sustain and support others who are involved in this program and going through the three phases of the program, I think, is a good approach to be taken, and they have obviously had some good successes here," he said of the McCracken County resource.
Cameron said his meeting with local and regional law enforcement officials went well earlier in the day, including speaking with McCracken Sheriff Matt Carter.
"I often say that we need to continue to do a good job in the law enforcement community of sharing (intelligence) and collaborating effectively," he said. "Part of the reason that I was here today is to make sure that the people here understand that is my primary concern: being an advocate for the law enforcement community and walking alongside them in their efforts to beat back the drug epidemic and fight against human trafficking and child abuse."
CenterPoint Site Administrator Thelma Hunter said Cameron's visit will help promote the center and its efforts to rehabilitate those with addiction issues.
"This will help bring more attention to the problem of addiction, and we appreciate that so much," she said. "This shows that people in Frankfort do care, and they are interested in the issues that we're having in western Kentucky - all over Kentucky. That means volumes.
"We need to change the idea of addiction and change that stigma around addiction, and this is a great way to do that."
Hunter said law enforcement has been helpful in their effort to combat addiction in this area.
"Law enforcement is helpful in changing their attitude with the guys that we have here," she said. "When we first opened, law enforcement would sit across the street, keeping an eye on things and worried that something might happen. Today, we are involved with several charity events (together), so the stigma around it is changing."