More drug treatment for inmates and more comprehensive care for babies born addicted to opiates are among the targets of $10 million pledged to curb Kentucky's heroin epidemic.
How the money, appropriated as part of Senate Bill 192, will be spent was announced by Gov. Steve Beshear Monday. The money is allocated for fiscal year 2016, which begins July 1.
Heroin use in Kentucky has skyrocketed in recent years, with overdoses increasing 207 percent between 2011 and 2012, according to state data.
During the first nine months of 2014, at least 723 Kentucky deaths were attributed to a drug overdose, with heroin involved in 27 percent of those cases, according to the state Office of Drug Control Policy.
The spending announced Monday includes:
■ $1 million to the Department of Corrections for substance abuse treatment programs for county inmates in local jails.
■ $500,000 to expand substance abuse treatment programs for state inmates in local jails.
■ $1.5 million to the corrections department for Vivitrol, an injectable, extended-release drug designed to prevent an opiate relapse. It will be used as offenders are released from custody.
■ $2.6 million to community mental health centers for substance abuse treatment.
■ $1 million to provide more comprehensive care for babies born addicted to opiates because of their mother's drug use.
■ $1.2 million to the Department for Public Advocacy to implement a social worker program aimed at developing individualized alternative sentencing plans.
■ $1.2 million to the Prosecutors Advisory Council to enhance the use of "rocket docket" prosecutions in controlled substance cases.
■ $1 million to the Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Policy.
State Rep. Sannie Overly, D-Paris, who offered the amendment that provided the funding, said in a news release that the money will "make a major difference when it comes to reversing the state's heroin epidemic."
Senate Bill 192 also increases the availability of naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose, and creates a "Good Samaritan" provision so people can report overdoses without being prosecuted. The new law also allows local health departments to create needle exchange programs. The Fayette County Health Department hopes to begin one in Lexington by the end of summer.