August 20, 2014

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Senator Katie Stine’s Frankfort congressional review

As a result of the recent surge in heroin abuse, I invited Spike Jones, chief of Covington Police Department, to testify before the interim Judiciary Committee about what Northern Kentucky law enforcement is seeing. He painted a sobering picture of the families and communities torn apart by this cheap “new” old drug that is sweeping in from Mexico via Cincinnati. Heroin deaths have more than doubled statewide in the last two years. At $25 a half-gram, heroin is inexpensive and increasingly accessible.

As Kentucky is cracking down on the illegal use of prescription drugs, heroin seems to be a drug of choice leading to new addicts, higher crime, copper theft, and even prostitution. Heroin is highly addictive in nature and while there has been plenty of publicity and public education about the dangers of oxycodone abuse, methamphetamine, and other similar drugs, heroin education and treatment has lagged behind. I also invited the executive director of the Office of Drug Policy to attend our committee meeting and he talked to us about the need for more resources and coordinated law enforcement support. There are only two treatment centers in Northern Kentucky. I am very concerned about this issue and have directed my staff to research any needed legislative changes as well as treatment funding options that we can use to fight this scourge in our commonwealth.