As heroin overdoses increase, education and cutting off supply more crucial than new laws, official says

04/18/2013 12:51 PM

Kentucky needs to step up its education of the dangers of heroin and refocus law enforcement efforts to cut off trafficking more than new laws to combat the problems, said Kentucky Justice Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown.

Over the last three years, Kentucky has seen a surge in heroin overdoses in Northern Kentucky , and authorities have blamed heroin overdoses for nine deaths in Lexington through early March, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader .

Brown said heroin is the latest drug of choice as Kentuckians satisfy their desire for opioids. Kentucky has cracked down on prescription pain pill abuse. And Brown, among other Kentucky officials, applauded the Food and Drug Administration’s decision this week to ban generic versions of OxyContin, which Brown said would be “much more dangerous than heroin.”

The main cause of the heroin overdoses is that people don’t know the quality and potency when they buy it. During the 2013 General Assembly, Sen. Katie Stine, R-Southgate, pushed a bill that would have increased penalties for heroin trafficking and allowed prosecutors to charge someone with homicide for selling heroin to someone who overdosed.

“I have no real problem with that. I don’t know that that’s not something a creative prosecutor couldn’t do right now,” Brown said (0:30).

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