A bill aimed at combating Kentucky’s rising heroin abuse problem is on to the House after gaining unanimous support in the state Senate. Republican Katie Stine’s measure was passed Thursday on a 36-0 vote, and seeks to distinguish between those who are selling the drug, and those who have become addicted.
“The bill targets two different groups: the trafficker who needs to be run out of Kentucky or locked up, and the addict, who has broken the law, but who has created their own personal prison of addiction that is far worse than any jail the state could design, and who frankly needs treatment,” said the Campbell County lawmaker.
Stine’s bill creates tougher punishments for dealers, making them serve more of their prison sentences before becoming eligible for parole. The legislation also requires the Kentucky Medicaid program to pay for substance-abuse treatment.
According to Stine, the increasing heroin problem is having a major impact on courts and emergency rooms in parts of the commonwealth, especially in the northern part of the state.