Heroin overdose deaths continue to rise

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A new state report shows more people continue to die from heroin overdoses in Kentucky.

The Office of Drug Control Policy says 230 people died from heroin overdoses in 2013, a 60 percent increase from 2012. In 2011, 22 people in Kentucky died from heroin overdoses.

State lawmakers failed to pass a bill this year that would have paid more for substance abuse treatment and strengthened sentences for heroin traffickers.

State Sen. John Schickel has filed a bill for the 2015 legislative session that would increase criminal penalties for heroin traffickers. State Rep. Tom Burch says he is working on a bill that would focus more on treatment programs than incarceration.

It cost taxpayers $18,000 a year to incarcerate someone versus $6,000 a year to treat someone for substance abuse.

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