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Fining offenders proposed as a way to fund rehab centers

Increasing the fines from drug and alcohol offenses is one possibility the Recovery Kentucky Task Force is examining as a way to fund the 10 drug and alcohol rehab centers it's building.

Lori Flanery, deputy secretary of the Finance Cabinet and a member of the task force, said the group also wants more time to explore the options that it identified Tuesday.

One thing the members want to investigate is a $250 fee for all drug and alcohol offenses other than those that involving driving, Flanery said.

The task force, which has a budget to create the 10 rehab centers, met Tuesday to decide which steps it would recommend to Gov. Steve Beshear to ensure the future of the program.

Among other things, task force members want a non-profit foundation to raise money privately and educate Kentuckians about the venture; an increase in the number of jail prisoners that the rehab centers can take; legislative support for a program to divert offenders into drug and alcohol rehabilitation; and, more time to research ways to raise money.

Recovery Kentucky was started during Gov. Ernie Fletcher's administration. The project is an effort to increase the amount of drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs in Kentucky by creating programs based on Lexington's Hope Center, where recovered drug and alcohol abusers help those struggling with the problem.