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Coalition Welcomes New Director

June 15, 2022

Effective June 13, Luke Stapleton began serving as the new director of the Northeast Kentucky Substance Use Response Coalition.

Stapleton is Carter County native who most recently served as a project administrator with the Gateway Area Development District (ADD); in that role, he focused primarily on writing and managing numerous grant projects for cities and counties in the Gateway region. Stapleton is also a former director of the FIVCO ADD’s Area Agency on Aging and Independent Living.

The Northeastern Kentucky Substance Use Response Coalition, formed in 2018, consists of eight member organizations focused on addressing substance use disorders within 18 northeastern Kentucky counties. Coalition members include: St. Claire HealthCare and its hosted Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center (AHEC), based in Morehead; Achieving Recovery Together, a recovery community organization based in Winchester; the Clark County Health Department; Comprehend, Inc., a community mental health center based in Maysville; Pathways, Inc., a community mental health center based in Ashland; Tri-State Primary Care, which has clinics in Boyd and Carter counties; the Kentucky Rural Healthcare Information Organization, based in Morehead; and the Gateway District Health Department, based in Owingsville.

“As a lifelong resident of Eastern Kentucky, I have seen the realities of substance use disorder in our communities,” Stapleton said. “I am looking forward to working with the Coalition and our partners to continue the vital work of meeting these challenges and making a difference in our region.”

Between the Coalition’s seven federally funded grant projects, it has brought more than $4.1 million into northeastern Kentucky. More importantly, this funding has enabled the Coalition to facilitate meaningful projects, gather data, and establish much-needed interventions within local communities.

The Coalition’s activities have included: conducting interviews with incarcerated individuals concerning addiction, treatment, and recovery; administering a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) of opioid use disorder survey to more than 100 health care providers and administrators; expanding/implementing MAT within four rural health clinics; establishing a series of MAT trainings and an MAT mentorship program for local health care providers; delivering prevention education presentations to hundreds of young students; distributing naloxone (an opioid overdose-reversing medication) and training community members on its use; and creating a jail reentry program called First Day Forward, which pairs incarcerated individuals with a trusted peer recovery support specialist for in-jail programming and post-release linkages to treatment and recovery resources.

The Coalition was selected as the National Rural Health Association's "Outstanding Rural Health Program" for 2021.

Stapleton earned a bachelor’s degree in Health Care Administration from Ohio Christian University. He lives in Grayson with his wife, Brittany, and their two young daughters. You may contact him at