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Franklin Sheriff urges special session to pass heroin bill

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Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton sent a letter to the Governor Steve Beshear, urging him to call a special session to pass heroin legislation.

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - After the Heroin Bill failed to pass the General Assembly, concerned law enforcement officials are pleading with the governor to call a special session.

Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton is among those voicing concern. He says it's not too late for lawmakers to pass Senate Bill 5, which is also known as the Heroin Bill. He sent a letter to the Governor Steve Beshear, urging him to call a special session to pass heroin legislation.

Sheriff Melton says he's anxious for lawmakers to pass the bill because he says heroin use has become an epidemic in Franklin County. He says in the past 12 months, his agency went from having no problems with the drug to seeing 13 deaths where heroin was a contributing factor.

State lawmakers began crafting a bill after a state report found that heroin overdose deaths went up 650-percent in 2012. The bill would've hit dealers, who sold significant amounts of heroin, with longer sentences. It also would've addressed the drug epidemic in three parts: law enforcement, education and treatment.

The bill failed to pass after the House of Representatives didn't vote the measure through, at the end of the 2014 General Assembly.

Melton says they ran out of time but that shouldn't keep lawmakers from trying to pass the bill again.

"Heroin is killing our folks and we need to do the best we can to address that and make it tougher. We need to let the public know that Kentucky isn't open for business when it comes to heroin drug dealers and traffickers," said Sheriff Melton.

State officials say a special session could cost taxpayers up to $60,000 a day. Melton says it's worth it to save lives.

At last check, Governor Beshear said that it was too soon to tell if a special session would be needed.


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