Friday, August 27, 2004

Fletcher creates anti-drug office

By Joe Biesk
The Associated Press

FRANKFORT - Kentucky's substance-abuse problems are at "epidemic" proportions, Gov. Ernie Fletcher said Thursday while announcing a new Office of Drug Control Policy, responsible for coordinating the state's drug-fighting efforts.

Fletcher named Sylvia Lovely, the executive director of the Kentucky League of Cities, as the temporary head of the new anti-drug office. Among its responsibilities, the new office will be charged with implementing recommendations from the Statewide Drug Control Assessment Summit 2004.

Kentucky's new tactics against illegal drug use would combine efforts in education and prevention, drug treatment and law enforcement, Fletcher said.

In February, the Fletcher administration commissioned a 51-member panel that toured the state gathering public comments on Kentucky's illegal drug problems. The group's 480-page final report was also released Thursday.

The report recommended creating the OCDP and increasing drug courts and treatment programs across the state.

The panel also recommended shortening waiting periods for people waiting to get into treatment programs, boosting the state's education efforts on drug abuse and prevention and increasing communication between law agencies.

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Murray Weiner, doctor, writer, pharmacologist