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Monday, January 26, 2015

More Heroin Legislation Introduced in General Assembly

Campbell County Representative Dennis Keene (D-Wilder) has proposed what he calls a "compromise bill" to the Kentucky House of Representatives that will address the growing heroin problem in Northern Kentucky and throughout the Commonwealth.

Keene filed House Bill 53 with the hope of addressing the growing heroin problem.  Several other House members also filed legislation, so Rep. Keene is meeting with those members in Frankfort to seek a single piece of legislation that can be passed during this year’s legislative session.

The first meeting of the group of legislators met last Thursday in Frankfort.

Keene's legislation is in addition to Senate Bill 5, introduced by Senator Chris McDaniel, of Taylor Mill, and which passed the Kentucky Senate during the session's first week.

“The consequences of heroin use are severe in our region,” said Rep. Dennis Keene.  “In Northern Kentucky alone, the number of court cases relating to heroin has increased 500 percent from 2008 to 2012. This is a priority issue for me and we must pass a bill this session to begin to address the problem.”

Rep. Keene’s House Bill 53 includes the following provisions for dealing with the heroin problem:

Increased jail time for drug traffickers;
If a victim dies because of an overdose; trafficker would be charged with criminal homicide;
Officer protection through needle stick immunity;
Incentives to cooperate with law enforcement;
Increased treatment coverage (treatment, needle exchange option, parental rights, access to overdose antidote)

“Researchers at the University of Kentucky estimate that drug abuse overall costs Kentucky $6 billion annually in health care, treatment, accidents and other expenses,” said Keene. “The time is now to pass meaningful legislation that will address the problem and provide support for law enforcement and our judicial system when dealing with this massive issue.”

The General Assembly reconvenes on Feb. 3 for the remainder of the 2015 legislative session.

- Staff report

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