Senator working on legislation to reduce "drugged driving"

12/11/2016 11:30 AM

UNION – Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, who has been outspoken about how he feels that the state legislature has done a horrible job dealing with the statewide heroin scourge, is working on a bill to address one of the critical issues when it comes to heroin use, “drugged driving.”

Schickel is working with Kenton County prosecutor Rob Sanders on a bill which would impose stricter penalties, including license suspension, for persons found to be under the influence of heroin or opioids, or have those types of drugs in their system when behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

“Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders ran into me the other day and he came up with what I thought was a great idea, to treat people who are convicted of heroin offenses, who might have seizures, much like we do other people that have seizures,” Schickel said. “There are laws on the books now that if you are prone to seizures, you cannot have a driver’s license for a period of time until you can medically approve that you’re not going to have any more seizures.”

Since October 1, Kenton County has seen 38 felony prosecutions involving opiate impaired drivers.

Another issue Schickel has advocated for are tougher penalties for drug traffickers.

The Boone County Republican says that the beginning of the heroin scourge in the state dates back to 2011 when the General Assembly cut jail sentences for drug sellers.

“We let street level dealers, kind of went soft on them and charged them with a class D felony, which is 1 to 5 years, but in reality, it’s much less time than that,” Schickel said. “The very next year, we went from being below average to being above average in overdose deaths per thousand.”

Schickel acknowledges that some have accused him of not being open to favoring treatment when it comes to dealing with drug abusers.

Schickel says that he is not against people who want to get treatment, but that does not include court ordered treatment that many in the medical community are in favor of.

“Court ordered treatment, before someone is willing to accept it, and willing to admit that they have a problem, has been shown to be very ineffective,” Schickel said. “I have friends in Boone County who have had children with the heroin problem and have spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on treatment and those children are dead. The big lie that they can somehow magically cure a heroin addict is just that, a big lie which gives people false hope.”

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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