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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in migratory fish populations, in US and worldwide.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest against Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial as both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic Party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

KY communities address ACEs to prevent substance-use disorders

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Monday, January 29, 2024   

Communities across the Commonwealth want to minimize traumatic experiences for the state's youngest residents - as a way to help stem the drug epidemic, and prevent future generations from struggling with substance-use disorders.

According to Kentucky Youth Advocates, at least one in five Kentucky kids has had at least two Adverse Childhood Experiences or 'ACEs.'

These include physical, sexual and emotional abuse, neglect, having family members with a substance-use disorder, witnessing domestic violence, and parental incarceration.

Dr. Connie White, deputy commissioner for clinical affairs with the Kentucky Department for Public Health, said research shows ACEs can increase risky behaviors and the development of chronic diseases - and even lead to a shorter lifespan.

"All of these things contribute as that child's neural pathways are developing," said White, "as they're learning how to make choices - healthy choices, unhealthy choices - as they're chronically stressed and their cortisol levels are chronically elevated."

White added that it's becoming clear that interventions promoting safe, stable environments for kids can strengthen the building blocks for healthy coping mechanisms - and reduce their likelihood of dependence on alcohol or drugs in adolescence or adulthood.

Barry Allen is president and CEO of the Gheens Foundation. It's a member of BLOOM Kentucky, a statewide coalition pushing for policy changes to prevent ACEs.

He said increasingly, communities are recognizing the correlation between addiction and childhood trauma.

"And so, a small group of us grantmakers proceeded to seek an audience with then-Attorney General Daniel Cameron," said Allen, "to plead the case to apply at least half of the opioid abatement settlement dollars - over $400 million - to apply those to prevention."

This legislative session, Bloom Kentucky says it's advocating for sustained funding for school-based mental health providers to improve access to services, for establishing a process to automatically expunge an eviction from a family's record after a reasonable amount of time, and to prohibit minors from being named in eviction filings.




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