ERLANGER, Ky. (AP) -- A northern Kentucky group that supports recovering drug addicts has restarted after dissolving a few years ago, and its members are headed to Frankfort next week to start lobbying.
The group is the northern Kentucky chapter of People Advocating Recovery. PAR is a statewide organization that works to eliminate the barriers to recovery from addition.
"Our goal is to diminish the shame, stigma and discrimination that surround the disease of addiction," Charlotte Wethington, president of the chapter, told The Kentucky Enquirer (http://bit.ly/ZupOmv).
Wethington's son Casey died in 2002 of a heroin overdose. She convinced the Kentucky Legislature to pass what is known as The Matthew Casey Wethington Act for Substance Abuse Intervention in 2004. The law lets people close to substance abuse victims intervene on their behalf to get them into treatment without criminal charges.
She had been president of the region's previous PAR chapter, but it dissolved. She and Jason Merrick, a former drug addict and the new chapter's chairman, decided to restart the group as a way to fight the increasing problem of heroin in the region.
On March 6, the chapter will join others in Frankfort to advocate reinstating the right to vote for convicted felons who have served their time and made restitution.
Merrick said the chapter also will hand out information urging the Kentucky legislature to pass a law that would let physicians prescribe and pharmacists distribute naloxone - a drug that blocks the effects of opiates in overdosed people and can resuscitate them.
The chapter is also in favor of adding to the bill language that would allow the prescription of naloxone to potential bystanders who could save addicts' lives.
Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.nky.com