State leaders say they will not tolerate illegal drug activity in Kentucky and they're ready to crack down on offenders. A widespread initiative in Frankfort will not only catch criminals, but also help them break the cycle.
It's a problem officials right here in Eastern Kentucky say they see too often on drug raids, in court, or in prison. But local representatives are leading the way in a statewide plan to get drugs out of Kentucky through prevention, law enforcement, and treatment.
Officials say more than 80 percent of people going through Kentucky's court system are in one way or another there because of drugs.
"We understand how to put people in jail. We can do that. This problem requires more," said Attorney General Greg Stumbo.
And now state officials are trying change the way Kentucky tackles its drug problem. Their motto is "Drug Abuse, Kentucky Fights Back".
"We have to have more treatment and more efforts in education to solve this problem. Together, Kentucky is fighting back, and together Kentucky will conquer this problem and together Kentucky will make a difference," Stumbo said.
Their plans include a crackdown on drug trafficking and internet pharmacy violations, but will also restructure the process of treating people arrested on drug charges with pretrial screening for substance abuse risks and more options for treatment facilities.
"We are tough on criminals but we also want to be effective and to take a non violent drug user and throw him in with violent criminals is not the way to treat the problem," said Governor Ernie Fletcher.
And for two men who have often been so tough on each other, one Eastern Kentucky senator says he's glad to see the state's top leaders working together on a problem that hits close to home.
"There are certain issues that you don't consider to be a partisan issue. You don't ask a child about their affiliation if they're getting ready to go buy drugs," said Senator Robert Stivers.
And working together, they believe they can fight back.
Officials say many programs already are in place to get this plan moving quickly. The recovery Kentucky initiative for example is set to bring in 40 million dollars in drug treatment facilities across the state.