Three pronged approach offered to combat mounting heroin problem in Kentucky

12/19/2013 02:49 PM

A bipartisan group of legislators took to Frankfort Thursday morning to announce a new plan of attack to curb the rising problem of heroin in Kentucky.

So far, most of the reported overdose deaths attributed to the drug are occurring in Northern Kentucky and Louisville, but Sen. Kate Stine, R-Southgate, warned Kentuckians “this scourge is coming your way, and we must act now.”

Stine was joined by Attorney General Jack Conway and Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, to present the legislation which they’ve been working on for several months.

The bill seeks to increase penalties for traffickers of heroin, and calls on traffickers to be charged with homicide if an overdose death occurs. The bill will also require traffickers of heroin, which is defined as someone carrying more than four grams, to serve 50 percent of jail sentences.

The legislation is also requiring the Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act to cover substance abuse treatment costs — as well as counting on cost savings from the 2011 penal reform law to divert funds saved through that initiative.

Tilley said that no matter what they do traffickers will always be around, but they need to decrease demand through education and treatment efforts.

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