State Representative John Tilley of Hopkinsville joined Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and Senator Katie Stine for a news conference in Frankfort Thursday morning, where they announced legislation to be filed for next year to address a growing problem of heroin addiction in the Commonwealth.
The proposed law will increase penalties for high-volume traffickers and allow traffickers to be charged with homicide. Under state sentencing guidelines, it would require large volume traffickers to serve 50 percent of their sentences. There currently is no distinction between large and small volume traffickers. The bill also decreases the time a defendant must serve before being eligible for parole if he or she cooperates with authorities.
The bill would require the Kentucky Medicaid Program to cover a broad array of substance abuse treatment options for people seeking opiate addiction treatment. Representative Tilley says money saved through the House Bill 463 penal code reform legislation from a couple years ago will help pay the bill.
Representative Tilley says drug addicts can't overcome their addiction on their own and that's why it's important that treatment options have expanded the last couple years.
The bill also says a coroner or medical examiner must notify the Commonwealth’s Attorney of any overdose death caused by the use of a Schedule I controlled substance and it gives limited immunity from drug paraphernalia and possession charges for people who call 911 to help prevent a drug overdose death.