State of Kentucky Archives: on Drugs


Amy McGrath: Will work for real investments in tackling opioid crisis

Our friends, family and community members are dying at alarming rates across the nation from the opioid crisis. Lawmakers need to start being honest about investments that will be needed to tackle this drug crisis in areas of research, prevention, treatment, and recovery. Experts believe we need to invest at least $45 billion over 10 years to actually improve outcomes. I will work to make sure Congress starts making real investments at the federal and state level to end this crisis.
Source: 2020 Kentucky Senate campaign website AmyMcGrath.com Jun 30, 2020

Amy McGrath: For medical cannabis; research full legalization

Many veterans suffering from chronic pain and PTSD report improved health outcomes from medical cannabis. I stand with the American Legion in calling for the removal of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug and permit its use to treat ailments that veterans, and others, face. It may also alleviate dependence on opioids for pain relief and that alone is a meaningful reason to consider moving in that direction. Our government should permit research on the issue of full legalization.
Source: 2020 Kentucky Senate campaign website AmyMcGrath.com Jun 30, 2020

Charles Booker: Legalize cannabis and expunge records related to it

Charles fully supports full legalization of cannabis. Charles is standing for Kentuckians to support commutation of sentences and expungement of records related to cannabis. Charles supports direct economic investment and entrepreneurial resources in communities disproportionately harmed to make sure they are not blocked out of new industries that come from legalization.
Source: 2020 Kentucky Senate campaign website BookerForKentucky.com Jun 17, 2020

Steven Cox: Follow Colorado in legalizing & taxing cannabis

Kentucky Cannabis Revenue Program and Constitutional Amendment: Steve seeks to move Kentucky to unprecedented revenue levels by modeling Kentucky after Colorado's very successful cannabis revenue program which yields over $250 million annually for Colorado.
Source: 2020 Kentucky Senate website CoxForUS.com Feb 6, 2020

Robert Goforth: Project DARIS: combat drugs by educating students

After spending years going into schools across Kentucky to provide a free drug-education prevention program called Project DARIS to students across our state, the drug epidemic weighed so heavy on me that I decided to seek a public service opportunity to be able to have a greater impact on policy. I ran for state representative and was elected to serve the people of the 89th House District in Jackson, and portions of Laurel and Madison counties.

Now, I'm running for governor because Kentucky deserves a choice. I will support our teachers and public education, fund public pensions, combat drugs, fix our infrastructure and help Kentucky live up to its greatest potential. I humbly ask for your vote and support in the primary election.

Source: MSN.com on 2019 Kentucky governor's race May 10, 2019

Andy Beshear: Legalize medical marijuana; maybe it'll replace opioids

I support placing medical marijuana legalization on the ballot as a constitutional amendment and would vote in its favor. I would vote for it because I've seen the impact opioids have had on every Kentucky community. So many Kentucky families have seen a loved one fall into addiction, and their lives have been devastated. If medical marijuana is an alternative and gives people the chance to get pain relief without being subjected to opioids, I think it's something we've got to explore.
Source: 2019 Kentucky Gubernatorial campaign website AndyBeshear.com May 2, 2019

Adam Edelen: More beds in Kentucky to treat the scourge of addition

Treatment for substance abuse disorders should not be a luxury. There is a shameful lack of beds in Kentucky to treat the scourge of addition and those we do have are often inaccessible to communities that need them most. While there are costs that come along with expanding treatment to those who are suffering, the bad actors who pushed opioids on our community should be the ones to foot the bill.
Source: 2019 Kentucky governor campaign website AdamEdelen.com Dec 31, 2018

Andy Beshear: Sue opioid manufacturers & distributors who flood market

As Attorney General, Andy has fought tirelessly for Kentucky families. He has fought against the opioid epidemic by suing opioid manufacturers and distributors that have flooded our communities with pills, creating the Kentucky Opioid Disposal Program, and going after rogue doctors and drug traffickers.
Source: 2019 Kentucky governor campaign website AndyBeshear.com Dec 31, 2018

Rocky Adkins: Prohibit advertising of opiates and opioids

Rocky Adkins co-sponsored House Bill 225: AN ACT to create a new section of KRS Chapter 218A to prohibit the advertising of opiate and opioid agonist drugs.

Legislative outcome:Died via Corrections Impact.

Source: Kentucky legislative voting records: HB 225 on KRS 218A Jan 22, 2018

Andy Beshear: Funding for prevention; focus on opioid disposal & treatment

Andy Beshear conducted year-end interviews, speaking about several topics and issues that the state currently faces, including his fight against opioids. The AG's office has filed eight total lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies in the state of Kentucky in 2018. Beshear hopes this can be a turning point in ending the epidemic.

"These [lawsuits] give us the possibility, if these companies will be responsible and accountable, at having that moment where, maybe, we can put this crisis behind us," Beshear said. "We can have the funding for prevention, for opioid disposal, where we can clean out every single medicine cabinet in Kentucky, where everyone who needs treatment can get it, and then we have the services and recovery to keep people well."

Source: ABC-13-WBKO on 2019 Kentucky gubernatorial race Nov 30, 2017

Matt Bevin: Crack down on drug dealers and others who abuse the system

Bevin listed people he doesn't want to live in Kentucky, saying the justice system must crack down on people who "abuse the system," drug dealers, people who don't respect law enforcement and "deadbeat Dads."
Source: 2017 Kentucky State of the State address Feb 8, 2017

Robert Goforth: Regulate and tax medical marijuana

Robert Goforth co-sponsored House Bill 136: AN ACT relating to medicinal marijuana & making an appropriation therefor. [The bill would]:Legislative outcome: floor amendment filed to Committee Substitute 3/12/19.
Source: Kentucky legislative voting records: HB 25 on KRS 525.135 Feb 7, 2017

Rocky Adkins: Regulate and tax medical marijuana

Rocky Adkins co-sponsored House Bill 136: AN ACT relating to medicinal marijuana & making an appropriation therefor. [The bill would]:Legislative outcome: floor amendment filed to Committee Substitute 3/12/19.
Source: Kentucky legislative voting records: HB 25 on KRS 525.135 Feb 7, 2017

James Comer: Help farmers with first hemp program in Kentucky

Family farms are the backbone of the First District. Owning a successful 2000 acre beef cattle, hay, timber, and grain farming operation, I know first-hand the hard decisions that farmers must make on a daily basis.

A federal representative with this type of experience will guarantee that the priorities of Kentucky's agriculture community will be heard in Washington. Against all odds, I led the General Assembly and our federal delegation to initiate the first hemp program in Kentucky. Having proven that I can create new opportunities for farmers, I look forward to bringing those same types of innovative ideas to the House Agriculture Committee. If elected, I will be the only former Commissioner of Agriculture in Congress.

Source: 2016 Kentucky House campaign website JamesComer.com Nov 8, 2016

C. Wesley Morgan: Don't legalize marijuana; no drug addiction program

Q: Do you support legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana?

A: No.

Q: Do you support additional funding for programs intended to reduce drug addiction in Kentucky?

A: No.

Q: Do you support alternatives to incarceration for certain non-violent offenders, such as mandatory counseling or substance abuse treatment?

A: Yes. I support public interest work such as community service as well as rehabilitation over incarceration.

Source: Kentucky State Legislative 2016 Political Courage Test Nov 1, 2016

Jim Gray: Fully fund drug treatment and addiction recovery

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, the Democratic challenger to U.S. Sen. Rand Paul this fall, held a news conference in Louisville to chastise Paul and Congress for failing to fund the recently passed Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. It calls for improving prescription drug monitoring programs, expanding treatment for addicted prison inmates and increasing the availability of a drug that counters the effects of heroin and opioid overdoses. "Legislation without funding is a failure," Gray said. "You have to fund it and that hasn't been done."

Earlier in the year, President Barack Obama asked Congress to provide $960 million with the act, but Congress didn't include funding. Gray criticized Paul for not voting for an amendment that would allocate about $600 million with the bill.

Paul's spokeswoman said the senator voted for a Republican omnibus bill that would have provided $1.5 billion for addiction prevention and treatment last year.

Source: Herald-Leader on 2016 Kentucky Senate race Aug 31, 2016

Jack Conway: Fight prescription drug abuse; set up treatment centers

As Attorney General, Jack Conway has championed the fight against prescription drug abuse in Kentucky:
Source: 2015 Kentucky Governor campaign website, ConwayOverly.com Aug 11, 2015

Alison Grimes: Have a discussion about marijuana legalization

On marijuana, Grimes said elected officials should discuss making it legal. "I would want to have the discussion, and I think it's worthwhile to bring the experts together and talk about the reclassification, especially for medical purposes," Grimes said

Grimes criticized Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell for not realizing the "economic benefits" the state of Colorado has enjoyed after legalizing recreational use of marijuana, adding that she's "in favor of having the discussion, especially to reclassify the use of marijuana."

"We haven't had a senator who's even wanted to have those discussions though," Grimes said.

A spokesman for McConnell's Senate office, said in a statement later that "Senator McConnell is strongly opposed to legalization of marijuana as Kentucky families deserve no less."

A February poll of registered Kentucky voters found that 52% favored "allowing the use of medical marijuana in Kentucky," with 37% opposed & 12% not sure.

Source: Lexington Herald Leader on 2014 Kentucky Senate race Sep 25, 2014

Mitch McConnell: Strongly opposed to legalization of marijuana

Appearing on a radio program for University of Kentucky sports fans, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes said it's "worthwhile" to discuss legalizing marijuana and requiring background checks for all gun purchases at gun shows.

On marijuana, Grimes criticized Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell for not realizing the "economic benefits" the state of Colorado has enjoyed after legalizing recreational use of marijuana, adding that she's "in favor of having the discussion, especially to reclassify the use of marijuana."

"We haven't had a senator who's even wanted to have those discussions though," Grimes said.

A spokesman for McConnell's Senate office, said in a statement later Thursday that "Senator McConnell is strongly opposed to legalization of marijuana as Kentucky families deserve no less."

A February poll of registered Kentucky voters found that 52% favored "allowing the use of medical marijuana in Kentucky," with 37% opposed & 12% not sure.

Source: Lexington Herald Leader on 2014 Kentucky Senate race Sep 25, 2014

Steve Beshear: KASPER: KY All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting

We need to tweak House Bill 1, the landmark prescription painkiller legislation. But we are not going to backtrack on bringing integrity to prescription pain medication:As with most reform efforts, we can improve upon the new regulatory system. But we are not going to return Kentucky to the "prescription playground" that it was before House Bill 1.
Source: 2013 State of the State speech to Kentucky Legislature Feb 6, 2013

Steve Beshear: Reduce historic addiction to tobacco with smoke-free law

Over the years, we've taken numerous steps to reduce Kentucky's historic addiction to tobacco. And yet we still rank either dead last, or next to last, in the number of adults who smoke, teens who smoke, and pregnant women who smoke. Our smoking-related mortality rate is the worst in the nation.

Yet we've never instituted a statewide law to protect Kentuckians from second-hand smoke. More than half the states in the nation have smoke-free laws. So do three dozen cities and counties in Kentucky. In fact, nearly half of Kentucky's citizens live in communities that have adopted protections for their residents & workers. It's time for us to begin looking seriously at doing this on a statewide level--to extend this protection for all our citizens. Six in 10 Kentucky adults now favor a statewide smoke-free law, and that support increases with each survey taken. This isn't a rights issue. People could still smoke. Just not in places where their smoke endangers the health of our workers and others.

Source: 2013 State of the State speech to Kentucky Legislature Feb 6, 2013

Jack Conway: Meth lab count is up because we are identifying smaller labs

PAUL: [Conway] wants to talk about drugs all the time. Under his watch the meth labs have doubled in the state.

CONWAY: Rand Paul will do anything to keep from talking about the drug issue because he doesn't get the state.

PAUL: Meth labs are not part of the drug issue?

CONWAY: No, meth labs are part of the drug issue, Rand. What's happened is we've gotten better at identifying them. You have new so-called shake-and-bake labs that are much smaller. We're finding a lot more of them. That's where those statistics come from. But it's another example where Rand Paul doesn't get Kentucky. He doesn't get our farm economy. He doesn't get that drugs are a real pressing issue. I've had mothers crying on my shoulders because their daughters overdosed from oxycontin. I get that it's a real pressing issue. I've seen it firsthand.

PAUL: Actually, prescription drug abuse is up since you became attorney general.

CONWAY: Oxycontin is probably down a little bit, to be honest with you.

Source: Fox News Sunday, 2010 Kentucky Senate debate Oct 3, 2010

Rand Paul: Tackle drug problem; no one cares where funding comes from

Q: In August you said about drug abuse in Kentucky, "I don't think it's a real pressing issue." You also said drug enforcement should be funded at the state level.

PAUL: As a physician and a father, I've always been concerned about drug abuse. And that was actually a misquote; what I actually said was I don't think people are concerned about where the funding comes from. They want the problem tackled. There's always a debate between how much is federal and how much is state. All I said is that like mos problems, I think the more local control, the better. The more the decisions are made by sheriffs and local communities, the better chance we have of fixing the problem.

Q: What about Operate UNITE, a federal program which has spent $16 million over th last two years to fight drug abuse in the state of Kentucky? Would you shut that down?

PAUL: No, but what I would say is here's the problem. [Conway] wants to talk about drugs all the time. Under his watch the meth labs have doubled in the state.

Source: Fox News Sunday, 2010 Kentucky Senate debate Oct 3, 2010

Rand Paul: Community treatment instead of federal anti-drug programs

Rand Paul is sticking with his position that communities--not federal programs--should take the lead in stemming drug abuse & providing treatment for addicts.

Paul was asked whether public sentiment might change his mind about supporting federal fundin for drug programs, such as Operation UNITE. That program, paid for with federal funds, coordinates law enforcement agencies for undercover drug busts and provides resources for treatment mostly in Eastern Kentucky. He said a candidate should stick to his positions.

Paul has said he favors handling the issue locally rather than sending tax dollars to Washington that come back in the form of Operation UNITE or other programs. Earlier this week, he held a press conference at the Wingshadow Lodge, a facility aimed at helping men recover from addition. The facility is part of the faith-based Teen Challenge program.

Jack Conway has been hammering Paul on the issue of drugs for the last two weeks as he seeks to paint Paul as out-of-touch.

Source: Cn2politics coverage of 2010 Kentucky Senate debate Aug 26, 2010

Jack Conway: Epidemic of prescription pill abuse spurs crime

Spurred by Paul's suggestion that drug abuse isn't "a real pressing issue" in the Senate race, Conway spotlighted Kentucky's "epidemic" of prescription pill abuse that is costing lives and overloading the courts and prisons with addicts who turn to crime to fund their habits. Conway visited Kentucky's mountain region where he said Paul "just doesn't get it" concerning painkillers like OxyContin and the impact they have had on Kentucky.

Paul accusing Conway of "pandering" for votes by mischaracterizing his concern for the state's drug woes: "It's been recently insinuated somehow that I don't care about the drug problem in Kentucky, and that's absolutely wrong."

Paul shows libertarian leanings on drugs. He has called drug sentences of 10 to 20 years too harsh. While he has said he opposes the legalization of marijuana, even for medicinal purposes, he believes it should be up to individual states to decide the issue. Conway said Kentucky can't afford to take on drug traffickers without federal help.

Source: Associated Press coverage of 2010 Kentucky Senate debate Aug 23, 2010

Rand Paul: Drug abuse isn't a pressing issue; 10-20 years is too harsh

Spurred by Rand Paul's suggestion that drug abuse isn't "a real pressing issue" in the Senate race, Jack Conway spotlighted Kentucky's "epidemic" of prescription pill abuse that is costing lives and overloading the courts and prisons with addicts who tur to crime to fund their habits.

Paul said he prefers local initiatives over federally based responses to combat drug trafficking. Paul has said he would cut federal funding for undercover drug investigations and drug treatment programs in Appalachia, a hotbed for marijuana growers and drug dealers selling prescription pills and methamphetamines. He told The Associated Press recently that he doesn't think drug abuse is "a real pressing issue" in the Senate race, suggesting that voters are more concerned about fiscal and social concerns.

Paul has called drug sentences of 10 to 20 years too harsh. While he has said he opposes the legalization of marijuana, even for medicinal purposes, he believes it should be up to individual states to decide the issue.

Source: Associated Press coverage of 2010 Kentucky Senate debate Aug 23, 2010

  • The above quotations are from Commonwealth of Kentucky Politicians: Archives.
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2020 Presidential contenders on Drugs:
  Democrats running for President:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

2020 Third Party Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (L-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Howie Hawkins (G-NY)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Howard Schultz(I-WA)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
Republicans running for President:
Sen.Ted Cruz(R-TX)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Gov.John Kasich(R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence(R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Pres.Donald Trump(R-NY)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld(R-MA & L-NY)

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
Sen.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
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