Opiate and Heroin Epidemic in Kentucky


Bheroinecause of the alarming spike of heroin overdoses in Kentucky since 2011 in counties like Pike, Harlan, Knox, Fayette and Perry County, Suboxone treatment centers have been popping up all over the state.  Unfortunately the “Miracle Drug” is now sold on the streets, just like its sister drugs OxyContin and Heroin.

Jeffrey Gibson, a volunteer at the Hope Center in Lexington says, “..It was just a great substitute for heroin, It was like doing the same thing, really.”.  Because of the escalating threat to the Public Health, organizations like Larry Luttrell’s  L&B have been stepping in to help get people’s lives back on the right path for the long run.  Over 25 years ago L&B Recovery conceived a revolutionary approach to treatment: Helping people stay sober.  Programs such as The Liberty Ranch and Liberty House provide the continued support needed for addicts and alcoholics. The transition from a 30/60/90 day treatment center back into the home is often times the most difficult and crucial for addicts/alcoholics. In fact, it is during this transition that most relapses occur.

5972264-3x2-940x627Our stance on the debate of Suboxone and its benefits to heroin addicts in a recent Huffington Post article is simple: Our goal is to only be helpful to those addicts seeking recovery from their addiction. L&B wishes to fill the gap between the completion of a 30 day treatment center or detox and the addict returning home. We provide a safe, 12-step oriented environment in which recovering addicts can receive the support they need on both a short-term and long-term basis.

L&B provides the emotional support necessary for addicts to safely taper off of Suboxone in an outpatient setting, while encouraging and supporting residents in developing a 12-step program of recovery. Professionals we utilize in the Lexington area provide the type of care needed throughout the taper process. This type of care, in conjunction with the Liberty program, affords the addict the safe and supportive environment needed to develop a strong program of recovery and obtain the necessary tools to achieve long-term sobriety.

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My husband is a Master’s level Clinical Social Worker and I worked outpatient for over 20 years with adults with addiction and mental illness. We had skepticism when we first heard about the Liberty Ranch because there are no “professional” staff, only a peer mentoring staff. We cannot express how revolutionary we believe this program to be. Because peer’s who have gone thru the program are the staff, there is not any manipulation, dishonesty, or disrespect. The staff have gone thru it or heard it all themselves! We have recommended the Liberty Ranch to anyone we encounter.

-Kathy Bussa Watts, The Mother of a Graduate of The Liberty Ranch

Costs of chemical dependency treatment have placed it out of reach for the less affluent, or those who do not have good insurance.  Most residential treatment facilities and hospital based programs do not accept insurance.

Some insurance companies are now denying coverage for opiate detox claiming that it isn’t a “medical necessity”, and those that do provide coverage have limited it to four or five days, and are only providing a similar amount of time in residential treatment before placing the person in an outpatient setting.  Some aren’t even doing that.  The patients are going straight to IOP after detox because the insurance companies won’t authorize treatment.  The insurance companies are gradually scaling back just like they did in the early 90’s before they stopped paying the exorbitant fees, that hospital based programs were charging, and that had a high rate of recidivism.

When those programs closed it cleared the path for residential treatment centers to flourish, and they did.  Nowadays these facilities aren’t accepting insurance, and the out of pocket expense is prohibitive for the less affluent, placing treatment out of reach for most families.  Most have a high rate of recidivism as well.  We receive calls all the time from families and individuals who spent 30 to 60 days at one of these facilities only to relapse after discharging.  At that point some families have spent their life’s savings and still need to get their loved one the help they need.

For over 25 years we have employed the same methods as residential treatment centers and hospital based programs, but in a long term care setting.  Our results were, and still are, remarkable.  The premier hospital based programs in the early 90’s that believed 30 days was enough used to tell us that we were keeping our residents too long.  We took a look at this and saw that our people who remained in our facility for long term were staying sober and getting years of sobriety.  Their patients, who only stayed in their program for 30 days, had a high rate of recidivism.  Over the years those same hospital based programs gradually shifted away from short term care, and are now trying to do what we have been doing for over 25 years.  This type of long term care is critical to long term sobriety as proven by DePaul University in a study they conducted several years ago, but unfortunately, it is simply not possible in residential treatment centers and hospital based programs due to high cost.

Our facilities, located in South Central KY enjoy a remarkable success rate in those individuals who stayed the longer term of 12 months and up.  This is a real number and is based on our graduate program.*

Over the past two or three years we have condensed our program into a short-term (30, 60, and 90) program and have enjoyed remarkable results.  Our extensive structure is intertwined with the 12-steps and its principles.  While intensive, it is also flexible and able to bend according to the needs of each client over the course of time they are in the facility.  Our program is highly effective and geared towards fostering the changes clients need to make in order to attain long-term sobriety.  Our graduates are sober, working, responsible members of society who sponsor residents and still engage in house activities after leaving the facility.  Additionally, we work with Dr. Romana Zverva, an Addiction Psychiatrist, Board Certified in General and Addiction Psychiatry as well as ASAM-Certified in Addiction Medicine.   In her office located in West L.A., Dr. Zverva counsels our residents and prescribes medications.  She is one of the best psychiatrists we have ever worked with.

Upon discharge, if possible, those residents who could only participate in the 30, 60 or 90 day programs are placed in sober living homes in their hometowns where they return to work and engage in activities with their family while they are building their sober support group.  Our long term care is still available and is what our statistics are based on, and that is what we recommend to all of our residents.  The fees are negotiable to assist in that endeavor.

As an affordable alternative to residential treatment, a highly effective structure, and by still providing outside access to professional services for residents, we will remain one of the most effective facilities in the country combatting alcoholism and drug addiction.

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Call Today (606) 787-2023


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