KY Lawmakers battle disease, death in legislature’s final week
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — How much time drug dealers should spend in prison and whether to give addicts clean needles are two issues dividing state lawmakers heading into the final week of the legislative session.
The House has passed a bill to allow local governments to set up needle exchanges, enabling addicts to swap dirty needles for clean ones. And it would preserve the state’s system of lighter sentences for those dealing less than 2 grams of heroin while increasing penalties for major traffickers.
The Senate has passed a bill that does not include a needle exchange and would increase penalties for all heroin dealers regardless of how much they were dealing.
Heroin overdose deaths in Kentucky have soared 945 percent since 2011. The state has the highest hepatitis C rate in the country.