Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Participates in Rally to Support Pending Anti-Drug Legislation
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher today participated in an anti-drug rally to support pending substance abuse legislation. Several significant bills designed to tackle the drug problem in Kentucky are being reviewed during the final days of the session.
“Fighting drugs is a mission that brings us all together because by putting policy and people above politics we can restore devastated families and communities,” said Governor Fletcher. “By working together can we treat addiction, teach our children about the dangers of drugs and enforce the laws against drugs in Kentucky.”
Substance abuse has an especially significant impact upon children and families of drug users. The devastating effects of drugs were highlighted by Marcus Kidd, a fifth-grade student at Rogers Elementary School in Wolfe County, who spoke at today’s rally.
“When I was just three years old my mom and dad were on drugs,” said Kidd, reading from an essay he wrote as president of his school’s UNITE Club. “They would leave us and go get drugs. Sometimes we would go with them. … Since drugs mess with your mind we got beat with sticks, cords, their hand, and spatulas. Plus we had to move a lot. Our trailer went from really nice to horrible. They sold our beds, refrigerator, sink, stove, TV and toys for drugs.”
“It’s no secret Eastern Kentucky has been devastated because of illegal drugs. Today is one more example of how our region is uniting together in order to stand up and say we have had enough,” said Karen Engle, executive director of UNITE. “Enough loss of life, enough wasted potential, and too many children suffering at the hands of addiction. We are here to ask legislators to stand with us in this important fight.”
Tom Coderre, a former Rhode Island state senator who fought his own cocaine addiction, also participated to stress the importance of intervention and treatment. “You don’t realize it is happening when it is going on. I’m not unlike many people. I was in denial,” said Coderre, who recently joined Faces and Voices of Recovery as the organization’s national field director. “If you seek help early you don’t have to lose everything.”
The substance abuse bills include:
Senate Bill 129 (sponsored by Senator Stivers)
- Hidden compartment
- Unclaimed property/money
Senate Bill 88 (sponsored by Senator Stivers)
- Asset forfeiture revisions
- Enhanced Internet pharmacy legislation
- Electronic monitoring of pseudoephedrine purchases
Senate Bill 34 (sponsored by Senator Kelly)
- Pre-trial drug diversion bill
Senate Bill 67 (sponsored by Senator Jones)
- Reducing DUI aggravating BAC .18 to .15
- Driving under the influence of drugs
Senate Bill 129 will make it a violation of state law if a person knowingly possesses a vehicle with a false, hidden or secret compartment intended to conceal illegal items from law enforcement. The bill will also allow officers during the course of conducting an investigation who seize unclaimed property or money to claim if no one comes forward. The money or property will be transferred to the officer’s employing agency for official use provided that the agency has made a bona fide effort to return the money or property to its lawful owner.
Senate Bill 88 holds pharmacies as well as physicians, consumers and “internet brokers” accountable for their involvement in illegal drug trafficking. The bill will require an in-person examination of a patient and precludes physicians who have no relationship with a patient other than an internet questionnaire before prescribing controlled substances. This legislation will also connect Kentucky pharmacies electronically and record pseudoephedrine purchasing data at the point of sale. Individuals who are purchasing from numerous sources will immediately be identified.
“This legislation is important to our comprehensive approach to preventing substance abuse in Kentucky,” said Senator Robert Stivers (R-Manchester). “The components of this bill will make Kentucky’s communities safer.”
Senate Bill 34 will require the Department of Corrections to operate an intensive secured substance abuse recovery program for substance abusers seeking or utilizing pretrial diversion in certain circumstances. The bill will also allow the jail health triage system to screen for substance abuse risk factors for certain felony offenders, it will require pre-trial screening of felony substance abuse offenders and to allow testing and treatment as a condition of pre-trial release.
“Creative programming like this is truly an investment in Kentucky’s future that can’t be quantified,” said Senator Dan Kelly (R-Springfield). “For investments on the ‘front-end’ – where we reach out to those in need before they have gone to prison - saves taxpayers money that includes not only the costs of incarceration, but quite probably a continued cycle of crime. And no one can put a price on broken homes, domestic violence and other tragedies families are suffering in this state because of a loved one’s drug addiction.”
Senate Bill 67 will create a “per se” violation of the DUI statute if the driver has at least a certain amount of a controlled substance, such as amphetamine, cocaine, heroin and other substances in the urine or blood. It will reduce the DUI aggravating BAC from .18 to .15.
“Driving under the influence involving drugs is a huge issue, especially in the region I represent. This legislation will assist prosecutors as they attempt to litigate these types of cases,” said Senator Ray Jones (D-Pikeville). “Senate Bill 67 is a vital step in ensuring that our roadways are safer to travel as a result of strengthening impaired driving statutes.”
“It is critical that law enforcement work together to combat the drug epidemic facing our citizens," said Attorney General Greg Stumbo. “KBI agents are currently training other law enforcement agencies on the Internet Pharmacy law and will continue to enforce it and yield results beyond the $1.5 million in drugs already seized.”