This week I joined HuffPost Live to discuss the resurgence of heroin in Kentucky and my efforts to curb substance abuse across the Commonwealth. Heroin is rapidly becoming the drug of choice in many parts of Kentucky. It’s cheaper to get on the street than prescription drugs, which are often a gateway to heroin addiction. Additionally, heroin is also an opiate and it mimics the same high people get from crushing and injecting opioid painkillers. In 2012, heroin overdose deaths increased 650 percent in Kentucky, and I want you to know that we are doing all we can in the Office of the Attorney General to fight this problem.
With concerned parents and state and law enforcement partners, I launched the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program in 2010. We visit Kentucky middle and high schools, sharing with students the dangers of prescription drug abuse and heroin. To date, my Keep Kentucky Kids Safe partners and I have reached approximately 40,000 students, teachers, and parents across the Commonwealth through this initiative. You can watch tapings from our previous school visits here.
In December, I joined two Kentucky lawmakers in announcing legislation aimed at addressing the increase in heroin abuse and trafficking that our communities are seeing. We came together in a bipartisan fashion to tackle this issue head on, just like we’ve done in the past with prescription drugs and meth. The bill, which I helped craft and am supporting during the current legislative session, creates tougher penalties for high-volume traffickers. The legislation would also make it easier for first responders to access Naloxone to help prevent overdose deaths, and it would provide limited immunity from drug paraphernalia and possession charges for people who call 911 to report an overdose. You can watch my entire interview about this important issue with HuffPost Live here. Addiction is plaguing our Commonwealth, and I will continue working tirelessly to help stop this disturbing trend.
I’m looking forward to taking our Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program to Scott and Anderson counties next week. On Tuesday, I’ll be speaking with the students at Scott County Ninth Grade School and Anderson County High School. I appreciate the school leaders for supporting this initiative and allowing us to share our message with their students. Be sure to check out my Twitter and Facebook pages for updates throughout the day as I travel to both schools. You can also follow the Office of the Attorney General on Instagram.
Finally, March Madness is in full swing, and the Commonwealth is being represented wonderfully this year in both the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments. Good luck to all of our Kentucky teams!