5:03pm

Wed February 1, 2012
All Politics are Local

Beshear Calls for Drug Treatment Programs

An eastern Kentucky prosecutor says he's seeing a rise in armed robberies, fatal drug overdoses, and even the sale of urine for people taking drug tests.Floyd County Commonwealth's Attorney Brent Turner spoke at a prescription drug abuse summit at the University of Kentucky Tuesday. He says the epidemic is real.

"We have police in our area and road units and troopers that have become so used to looking up people's noses to see what color of pill residue they have sticking out of their nose that they can almost tell you 'well that's blue so that's Xanax and that's pink so that's Lorcet and that's green and that's whatever.' Because that's all people are doing."

The drug summit coordinated by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Kentucky brought together hundreds of prosecutors, law enforcement, and medical experts.

Lance Corporal Dustin Gross took the stage to share his story at the summit as a recovering drug addict. After a roadside bomb in Iraq left him severely wounded, Gross was prescribed pain medication for his recovery.

But the prescription wasn't enough, and the war vet ended up doing whatever he could to get high.

"I ended up going to rehab to get my family off back pretty much. I left there, the day I left a friend picked me up at the bus stop and I had bottle of pills waiting on me." Gross said.

It would take a second stint in rehab, this time at the VA Hospital in Louisville, for Gross to get clean.

Governor Steve Beshear also spoke at the drug summit. He's pushing for more outpatient treatment programs.

"It works. You know you're not going to be 100 percent successful but good, effective treatment programs do work and people do recover from these kinds of addictions and they can become productive adults."

In his proposed budget, Beshear wants to fund substance abuse treatment through the Medicaid program, which he says could reach about 5,800 people. Beshear recognized that the problem is much greater, but says it's a start.