Kentucky Senate Expands Heroin Trafficking Penalties
Legislation to expand penalties for heroin trafficking is on its way to the Kentucky House. The measure got overwhelming support in the state senate Wednesday.
Northern Kentucky Senator John Schickel says passage of this measure would make trafficking in any amount of heroin a class C felony. He says lower penalties were adopted some six years ago for dealing in less than two grams of the drug. In retrospect, Schickel says that was a mistake considering the heroin problem today. “I’m tired of people making excuses for people that deal heroin, deal death to our young people and try to explain it away by saying things like, oh they’re addicts or they’re this or they’re that, so they’re not responsible for their actions,” said Schickel.
Schickel says lowering penalties helped to create a ‘heroin nightmare’ in Kentucky. The former law enforcement officer says there’s an abundant, cheap supply of heroin on streets and police are almost helpless to address street level dealers.
Grayson Senator Robin Webb voted against the bill, saying some traffickers can benefit from treatment. “It might preclude them from getting treatment or acceptance into a drug court or other institutions that we have supported and seen results of,” said Webb.
Webb also says incarceration costs would increase. The measure now heads to the House. ?