Kentucky Bill Aims to Strengthen Heroin Treatment, Penalties

Kentucky lawmakers will soon consider a bill that would make the opioid overdose antidote drug naloxone more available, while stiffening penalties for high-level drug dealers. The bill also would expand anti-drug education, the Courier-Journal reports.

Kentucky Medicaid would be required to pay for a broad array of substance abuse treatment options for people seeking opioid addiction treatment. Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway said he thinks this provision will give an incentive for more organizations to provide treatment for heroin addiction.

The proposed law would increase penalties for high-volume drug traffickers, and allow them to be charged with homicide, according to a news release.

Van Ingram, Director of the Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Policy, said heroin accounted for 36 percent of the 639 overdose deaths in the first nine months of 2013 in Kentucky, compared with 3 percent in 2011.

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