Kentucky Lawmakers Battle Heroin Abuse

Kentucky is one of the many U.S. states that is dealing with heroin addiction. The country has undergone a massive shift in the drug of choice among the addicted population. In 2009, the addiction centered around prescription drugs that were being procured illegally and abused; in 2014, the problem is heroin.

Lawmakers and drug companies shut down “pill mills” and made it harder to get these prescription drugs, so people turned to heroin. It is cheap, easy to get, and entices users with a better high; police departments, legislators, and rehab centers across the country are scrambling for ways to fight against drug traffickers and save the addicts from overdosing and dying.

The Kentucky legislator rejected the most recent attempt to deal with the plague via law because they were not happy with two provisions. The bill permitted needle exchange programs; supporters believe that if the heroin addicts are going to use, they can at least try to prevent the spread of AIDS and other diseases. Opponents believe this only enables more drug use. The bill also made it possible to charge people that sell drugs with murder when a customer dies from use of the drug; legal experts thought that this may violate the constitution.

A group of Kentucky legislators is already working on a revised version of the bill for the 2015 session because the problem of addiction has become so serious that there is a death from heroin overdose almost every day. The new version of the bill aims to attack the problem from both ends: harsher penalties for drug dealers and make treatment more accessible for addicts. Detox and rehab facilities are so overcrowded, people are going through withdrawals in the waiting room. This does not give addicts the incentive to get clean.

One Kentucky Senator said of the new proposed penalties for selling drugs, “If you come to Kentucky to deal heroin, we want you to regret it.”

Source: The Courier-Journal