On the last day of the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2015 session, Attorney General Jack Conway called on legislators to pass a bill to deal with the state’s growing heroin problem.
“I hope here on the final day of the legislative session that the legislature gets its act together,” Conway said during a news conference.
So far, lawmakers have been squabbling over differing versions of the bill. A heroin bill died in the final minutes of last year’s session.
Conway, a Democrat who is also running for governor, said the bill should include tougher penalties for major heroin traffickers and more funding for treatment. He also called for a bill that would make an overdose-reversing drug called naloxone more available. His stance is the same as House Democrats.
“Four simple provisions that are relatively non-controversial that need to be passed, that need to be passed by midnight tonight because people are dying, because law enforcement officials are having trouble dealing with the problem and prosecutors need help in trying to rid our streets of this scourge,” Conway said.
A committee headed by Conway and First Lady Jane Beshear has distributed 2,000 naloxone kits to the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville and St. Elizabeth Hospital in Northern Kentucky.
The total cost for the kits is over $100,000. The kits were funded as part of a $32 million settlement between the state and two pharmaceutical companies. The settlement money has also gone to fund nonprofit treatment programs across the state and provide users with “scholarships” to treatment programs.