Bill Aimed at Curbing Kentucky Heroin Epidemic Likely to Fail This Year

A bill cracking down on Kentucky’s growing heroin epidemic is facing an uncertain future in Frankfort, as lawmakers are concerned about the constitutionality of one of the bill’s key provisions.

Under the current language of the bill, the dealers who sold drugs to the late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman could be charged with homicide, if they were in Kentucky. The same goes for the dealers’ suppliers.

That has many state lawmakers concerned over the constitutionality of charging third and fourth-parties with homicide.

“Under that scenario, you could go back to whoever he may have gotten it from and convict three or four people of murder. It makes the prosecutor have to do their job,” says Rep. Brent Yonts. “They have to show relationship, causation and they have to prove their case.”

Yonts proposed changes that would re-balance the burden of proof to the prosecution.

Yonts says that if the changes aren’t made, then the bill will not pass this session. A similar measure failed for the same reason last year.

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