2017 Kentucky Legislative Initiatives:
HB333 - K. Moser, J. Fischer, R. Benvenuti III, J. Blanton, C. Morgan, J. Richards, D. ST. Onge
A bill that would make it a felony to illegally sell or distribute any amount of fentanyl, carfentanil and related drugs tied to an increase in drug overdoses in Kentucky has passed the House Judiciary Committee.
Trafficking in any amount of fentanyl, a pain killer now frequently imported for illegal street sales, and drugs derived from fentanyl as well as carfentanil - a large animal anesthetic 10,000 times more potent than morphine - would carry up to 10 years in prison. Trafficking over certain amounts of the drug could carry even longer sentences.
The bill would also make fentanyl derivatives - which potentially number 800 or more part of the same class of drugs as heroin and LSD.
House Bill 333 would also create a felony offense called trafficking in a misrepresented controlled substance for those who pass off carfentanil, fentanyl or fentanyl derivatives as an actual pharmaceutical.
Another provision in the bill would limit prescriptions for fentanyl to a three-day supply with few exceptions.
Senate Bill 192 ~ The Heroin Bill
The most talked-about issue of the General Assembly’s 2015 session was also a main focus of the late-night closing hours of the session as lawmakers struck an agreement on a comprehensive bill to battle the state’s heroin epidemic.
Heroin is devastating Kentucky families in a number of ways, and the legislation approved strikes back against the deadly drug on a number of fronts. The multi-prong approach includes stronger penalties for dealers and traffickers and better treatment options for addicts seeking help.
Lawmakers approved the legislation, Senate Bill 192, just hours before adjourning the 2015 session in the early morning of March 25. The bill was signed into law later that morning by Gov. Steve Beshear. Since the bill contained an emergency clause, it took effect as state law as soon as the governor signed it.
Under the new law, importing heroin into Kentucky with intent to distribute or sell is a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Those convicted of selling between 2 grams and 100 grams of heroin will not be eligible for parole before serving at least half of their five to ten years sentences. Those caught selling even more would face sentences of up to 20 years.
The new law also recognizes the health crisis that heroin poses and provides new funds to make treatment more widely available to those seeking help. The state’s addiction treatment system will receive an immediate $10 million boost followed by $24 million annually.
Another newly established tool in the fight against the health problems associated with heroin will permit clean needle exchanges at health departments, if a local jurisdiction approves. Supporters say the needle exchange programs show success in curbing the spread of Hepatitis C and HIV infection from shared needles. The programs also bring addicts into health departments where they’ll be closer to the state’s network of care and more likely to seek help for their addictions.
SB 192 will increase the availability of naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose if promptly administered. The bill also encourages people to call for help when overdose victims need it by including a “Good Samaritan” provision. That will shield people from prosecution when they seek help for someone who overdoses.