New Legislation Targets Heroin Abusers, Traffickers

Dec 19, 2013

Attorney General Jack Conway announced bipartisan legislation Thursday aimed at curbing the rise of heroin in the state.

The bill, to be presented during the 2014 regular session, is being touted as a comprehensive approach to a growing problem, one state Sen. Katie Stine says claimed just over a thousand lives in 2012 – a 650 percent increase over the previous year.

Stine argues the goal of the new legislation is to address both supply and demand.  

"The bill targets principally two groups: the trafficker, who needs to be run out of Kentucky or locked up, and the addict, who has broken the law but has created their own personal prison that is worse than any jail the state could design," she told reporters.

Representative John Tilley, who also helped craft the bill, challenges the notion that new prescription drug laws put into place last year directly led to the increase in heroin abuse. Tilley says cheap supplies of the drug are also to blame.

If passed, the bill would boost penalties for high-volume traffickers and allow them to be charged with homicide while requiring Kentucky’s Medicaid program to cover a broad array of substance abuse treatment options for those seeking treatment.