Kenton County looks to provide heroin addicts with treatment while being incarcerated

04/14/2015 04:09 PM

COVINGTON — Perhaps no place in the state was there more interest in the passing of heroin legislation than in Northern Kentucky which has become the epicenter of heroin addiction and arrests in the state.

Sixty percent of the total number of heroin arrests in the commonwealth come from the three northern Kentucky counties of Kenton, Boone and Campbell.

In Kenton County, prosecutors and corrections officials are working together to help incarcerated addicts have a chance at beating their addiction by giving heroin abusers access to treatment as part of their incarceration.

Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders says that he and county officials have a plan in place as part of a pilot program to provide addicts with treatment while they’re going through the judicial process.

“By the time they get to that preliminary hearing, we can have something ready for them, we can have plan of action,” Sanders said. “We can tell a judge, it’s OK to let this person out on bond because when you give them a bond that they can make, we’re going to put them on a bus that will take them to the treatment provider and get them signed up. Whether it’s an inpatient or outpatient treatment, they will go straight from the jail to the treatment provider without any opportunity to stray from the course.”

Helping facilitate the process is 35-year defense attorney Burr Travis, who is working with the prosecutor’s office. Travis is meeting with defense attorneys before defendants first hearings to find the best treatment options available depending on individuals treatment needs, insurance and qualifications for government assistance.

“One of the things that we were hopefully able to accomplish with the Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort is to get those people into treatment sooner through drug court, whereas in the past, they had to go through the adjudication process to get in,” Travis said.

House Bill 192 infuses $10 million into Kentucky’s treatment system immediately while $24 million will be added annually from corrections reforms designed to reduce prison costs by providing addicts with drug treatment.

In neighboring Campbell County, the state approved plans for a $7 million expansion of the detention center which includes more isolation cells for addicts.


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