FRANKFORT, Ky. -- A surge in heroin-related deaths is spurring a response from Kentucky lawmakers, who are proposing tougher punishment for high-level traffickers.
Legislation to be introduced in the 2014 General Assembly session would require high-volume traffickers to serve more of their sentences before being eligible for parole. It also would make it easier for prosecutors to get homicide convictions for trafficking heroin to someone who died from an overdose.
Promoting the legislation on Thursday were Attorney General Jack Conway, Republican state Sen. Katie Stine and House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Tilley, a Democrat. Conway said the legislation has the potential to save lives.
State officials say heroin overdose deaths increased 650 percent in 2012 and say the trend is continuing.
The bill also would require the state's Medicaid program to cover substance abuse treatment.