A Kentucky lawmaker says decriminalizing drugs and devoting enforcement efforts to healthcare is the only way to stop the state’s burgeoning heroin epidemic.

Sen. Perry Clark says legislation proposed for the upcoming Kentucky General Assembly session is more of the same in the failed War on Drugs.

Clark takes issue with a plan by Senate colleague Katie Stine that would combat heroin by stiffening the penalties for traffickers and making overdose deaths a criminal homicide.

He thinks decriminalizing drugs and focusing on drug treatment efforts is the best way to prevent overdose deaths.

“We need to move all of this out, all of the drug problems we have need to be moved out of criminal law and put into healthcare,” says Clark, a Louisville Democrat. “You know, we have spent in this nation trillions of dollars in this lost War on Drugs, and she thinks another hammer is gonna fix anything.”

Although he has choice words for Stine’s plan, the two share some common ground: Stine says her bill would aim to shore up treatment efforts and provide immunity to users who manage to bring emergency services to overdose victims.

Clark says he supports those measures, but would likely not vote for Stine’s bill.

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