Bill aimed at heroin clears Kentucky Senate committee

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- A Kentucky Senate committee has given initial approval to a bill aimed at combating a surge in heroin addiction. The panel was told the scourge is swamping courts and emergency rooms in northern Kentucky.

The bill cleared the Judiciary Committee on Thursday. It calls for tougher punishment for high-volume traffickers. They would have to serve more of their prison sentences before becoming eligible for parole.

On the treatment side, the bill would require the Kentucky Medicaid program to pay for substance-abuse treatment. The father of a man who died from a heroin overdose said northern Kentucky has an acute shortage of substance abuse treatment beds.

The bill's lead sponsor, Sen. Katie Stine, said heroin abuse is "tearing the very fiber of our society."

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