Most Kentuckians favor court-mandated treatment programs for drug offenders

05/02/2018 10:14 AM

LOUISVILLE- A new Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) reveals that eight out of 10 Kentucky adults favor court-mandated treatment programs for individuals with first or second drug offenses. Those with higher levels of education were more likely to support treatment programs, as opposed to incarceration.

KHIP is an annual poll of Kentucky adults that is funded jointly through the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health.

“We can’t arrest our way out of Kentucky’s substance use epidemic,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “Addiction is a brain disease that often leads to illegal behavior. When that’s the case, we have to treat the underlying condition. Otherwise, we wind up arresting over and over individuals whose brains have been altered in a way that increases the chances they’ll engage in risky or unlawful behavior again, and we never actually solve the problem.”

A court order may be necessary to get the person into treatment. Drug courts can mandate treatment and are widely available in Kentucky, except in Logan, Todd, Carroll, Grant and Owen Counties.

Federal parity laws require Medicaid and most private health insurance programs to cover costs of substance abuse programs, helping to take away the cost of treatment as a barrier for addicts.

The number of those who support mandatory treatment programs was higher among adults who believe that addiction is a disease, according to the KHIP report. Political party did not play a role in the support for these programs.

A copy of the report can be found here.

Michon Lindstrom

Michon is a producer for Pure Politics. Michon comes to Kentucky from Springfield, Illinois where she served as the statehouse reporter for the NBC affiliate. During her time in the Land of Lincoln she covered the state’s two year budget impasse and the largest school funding overall in Illinois history. Pure Politics airs weeknights at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Michon on Twitter at @MichonLindstrom or reach her by email at


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