Advocating for 'Casey's Law': Stay in treatment or go to jail - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Advocating for 'Casey's Law': Stay in treatment or go to jail

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Pamphlets, books and bumper stickers were laid out at an event Wednesday night, May 13, 2015, to help people understand heroin addictions. Pamphlets, books and bumper stickers were laid out at an event Wednesday night, May 13, 2015, to help people understand heroin addictions.
Charlotte Wethington spent years lobbying lawmakers to pass the law named after her 23-year-old son, Casey, who died of a drug overdose. Charlotte Wethington spent years lobbying lawmakers to pass the law named after her 23-year-old son, Casey, who died of a drug overdose.
Casey Wethington died of a heroin overdose after dropping out of a drug treatment program. Casey Wethington died of a heroin overdose after dropping out of a drug treatment program.
People attending Wednesday's meeting also learned how to use the drug Naloxone to reverse the effects of a heroin overdose. People attending Wednesday's meeting also learned how to use the drug Naloxone to reverse the effects of a heroin overdose.
SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Get help with a drug addiction or go to jail: that was the lesson during a meeting at the Shepherdsville Government Center as families learned how they can get their loved ones court ordered help.

Pamphlets, books and bumper stickers were available at the meeting to help people understand heroin addictions.

“There's too much overdose, too much tragic loss happening right now,” said Jennifer Stepp with the Bullitt Opioid Addiction Team.

Advocates say a way to start saving lives begins with awareness of available resources. That's where Casey's Law comes in. It's a law most people don't know about and legislation Charlotte Wethington spent years working on after her 23-year-old son, Casey, died of a drug overdose.

“I was told time after time, he would have to want lose enough and hit bottom,” said Wethington.

But for Casey, rock bottom was too late. When he agreed to get help, Casey left treatment after just six days. He was able to leave because he was an adult and ended up using once again. He overdosed three more times.

“The third time he was in a coma for ten days,” said Wethington.

His family ultimately decided to take him off life support. It was then that Wethington decided she didn't want this to happen to another family. In July of 2004, Casey's Law became Kentucky State Law.

“[The law] allows parents, relatives or friends to petition the court on behalf of someone who has a substance use disorder regardless of age and without any criminal charges,” said Wethington. “People have to be alive to recover.”

If the addict doesn't comply with treatment, he or she can be arrested and taken to jail. Since educating the public in a recent March meeting, advocates say they were told by the Bullitt County Clerk's Office more people were using the law.

“They said prior to March 11, they might have had one case and after that March 11 meeting, they're up to about 10 or 12 now,” said Stepp.

In addition to court ordered treatment, the meeting also taught people how to use the drug Naloxone to reverse the effects of an overdose.

Founders of the Metro Louisville Harm Reduction Task Force say it's a good idea to keep Naloxone in all first aid kits.

To learn more about Casey's Law, you can visit this website dedicated to the legislation. How to obtain and administer Naloxone can be found on the Metro Louisville Harm Reduction Task Force Facebook page.

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