State Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, was joined by other Democratic House members Monday to introduce House Bill 213 Monday to address the scourge of heroin in the state.
Weeks after the state Senate passed their legislation to combat heroin abuse, Tilley said his legislation differs because it includes a provision to create a needle exchange programs. The needle exchange provision, which would allow heroin addicts to turn in dirty needles to keep them from transmitting hepatitis or HIV, was a sticking point during the 2014 session.
At the press conference Monday, Tilley said his legislation has more in common with Senate Bill 5 than it does differences but he feels the needle exchanges need to be a part of any solution “because they work.”
“Heroin has become the latest front in an ever-changing battle, and it’s wreaking havoc in the lives of those addicted, the families and friends who love them and in the communities that are being overwhelmed by this poison,” Tilley said. “Our legislation would help counter that by implementing commonsense ideas that we know work. It increases treatment options for the addicts while toughening the penalties for large-scale traffickers who are responsible for bringing the drug here.”
As for the bill number, Rep. Joni Jenkins of Shively noted the number is symbolic representation of February 13th, the birthday of her nephew who passed away from a heroin overdose.
Tilley said the House Judiciary Committee will take up House Bill 213 during a meeting on Wednesday at noon.
The Kentucky Chamber is supportive of finding a solution to the ever-growing heroin issue in the state and passing legislation that will help save lives across the commonwealth.