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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Letter To the Editor: Katie Stine Addresses Heroin Epidemic

To the Editor  For over a year, I have read tragically similar stories about families and friends losing loved ones to heroin addictions, overdoses, and deaths. While Kentucky has made strides in reducing illegal prescription drugs, drug abuse remains a scourge that fractures families and hurts our economic health, safety, and quality of life. Police cite heroin as a major contributor to the increase in burglaries, theft, and prostitution. The heroin tsunami has swept over the Northern Kentucky community and inundated our health delivery services as it continues on to flood the rest of the state.

In the 2013 Session, I sponsored Senate Bill 6 that made clear that an overdose death from a Schedule I drug such as heroin is a foreseeable event.  Schedule I drugs are highly addictive and have no legitimate medical use.  SB 6 stated that the illegal trafficking of these types of drugs is sufficient to support a charge of criminal homicide in an overdose death.  In addition, the bill directed coroners to report heroin deaths to, among others, Commonwealth attorneys so that they may more effectively prosecute these cases. Unfortunately, the bill was killed in the House.

It’s inexcusable that the entire state could have begun to benefit from these common-sense penalties on heroin distribution. Fortunately, some, like Fayette County, have already started to implement many of the bill’s recommendations. The U.S. Attorney from the Eastern District is also employing the same tough measures as SB 6.

I will be filing similar legislation in 2014. We are also considering allowing first-responders to administer Narcan, a drug that can immediately counter the effects of an overdose. In addition, we need to use the model of Louisville’s The Healing Place as an efficient and effective way to treat addicts. Combating heroin abuse requires a three-pronged approach: interdiction, education, and treatment. Working together, we can make a difference.


  1. Also sidenote: The Healing Place in Louisville is the same regiment that The Brighton Center uses to treat its clients.

  2. First responders can administer narcan, but usually it is too late. Also we need to address some other issues that led to this. When The Joint Commission decided that pain, which is SUBJECTIVE, was the 5th Vital sign they all but forced Md's and Hospitals to treat pain based on a patients pain rated. Not only that but ER's are "graded" on this. If hospitals do not properly control pain they get in BIG trouble. That being said drug seekers knew this and sought out narcotics. I hear the same story all the time of people who go addicted on a legal prescription then slowly went to heroin because it was cheap. Is the hospitals we can't deny pain med even if we know the person is a known addict or drug seeker. We are forced to feed addiction. Mental Health facilities no longer will take these patients because they aren't mentally ill. There are few GOOD rehab facilities around here, and those we have are rumored to have patients sneaking drugs in. This state better wake up and allow tougher laws. God help us all if this problem is allowed to grow even more out of control.

  3. People are going to do drugs. Heroin use is on the rise because of the restriction of supply of prescription drugs due to various laws. Attack the root of the problem, "The War on Drugs" which is a failure by any reasonable measure.

    Think about it this way, a person does Heroin because they can't get Oxycotin. Would we as society rather them take Heroin or Oxycotin or another painkiller?