Attorney General Jack Conway, Sen. Katie Stine, and Rep.
John Tilley today announced a piece of bipartisan legislation to
address the increase in heroin abuse and trafficking that is being reported in
communities across Kentucky.
"Many areas of the state have seen an increase in heroin use
and overdoses. We cannot stand idly by and watch our families be torn
apart," General Conway said. "We have worked together to craft this
bipartisan bill that helps us get to the root of the problem, which is treating
The comprehensive legislation that has been drafted over the
past several months will address punishment, prevention and treatment.
According to a recent report issued by the Office of Drug Control Policy, there were over 1004 overdose deaths in Kentucky in 2012, a 650% increase from 2011.
The proposed law will increase penalties for high-volume
traffickers and allow traffickers to be charged with homicide. Both of
these proposed changes to state law would make Kentucky consistent with current
federal law. Under state sentencing guidelines, it would require large
volume traffickers to serve 50 percent of their sentences. There
currently is no distinction between large and small volume traffickers.
The bill also decreases the time a defendant must serve before being eligible
for parole if he or she cooperates with authorities.
The bill would also require the Kentucky Medicaid Program to
cover a broad array of substance abuse treatment options for people seeking
opiate addiction treatment. A measure the senators say would increase treatment options while maximizing tax dollars.
Other provisions in the bill include:
The coroner or medical examiner must notify the
Commonwealth's Attorney of any overdose death caused by the use of a Schedule I
Doctors are permitted to prescribe Naloxone to
first responders and addicts' family members to help prevent overdose deaths.
Limited immunity from drug paraphernalia and
possession charges for people who call 911 to help prevent a drug overdose
Training for peace officers on heroin overdose
recognition, interdiction, and treatments.