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Beshear Hopeful Kentucky General Assembly Can Address Heroin Epidemic in 2015 Session

Kentucky state Capitol
Kentucky state Capitol

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said he feels positive about getting a bill passed next year that will strengthen the state’s heroin laws.

The number of Kentucky deaths caused by heroin last year increased by more than 12 percent, with the northern part of the state especially hard hit. A bill that would have toughened sentences for heroin dealers while also providing increased services for addicts failed to pass this year’s General Assembly.

Beshear recently told Kentucky Public Radio there appears to be growing bipartisan belief that lawmakers can get something done in 2015.

“I’m going to be sitting down with the leaders of the House and Senate to figure out what approach to take, but I think everybody’s on the same page that we need to something," said Beshear, a Democrat. "So I feel confident that we’ll work something out and attack that problem.”

Van Ingram, executive director of Kentucky’s Office of Drug Control Policy, has called for wider availability of narcan, a drug used to halt the effects of opioid overdoses. Narcan is currently found in emergency rooms and carried by paramedics.

Ingram wants police officers and the families of those who are at risk of overdose to have access to narcan, which can be taken intravenously, orally or in a nasal spray.