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Kentucky Heroin Laws

For many of us, our only contact with heroin has been through characters in movies or books, or maybe public service announcements on television. Others have perhaps battled heroin addiction, or had a friend or family member who has. Or maybe you’ve noticed societal attitudes and some state laws regarding recreational drug use have been trending more towards leniency and wondered if the same has been true for heroin in the Bluegrass State. Either way, this article is a good place to get some of your questions answered. Here is an introduction to heroin laws in Kentucky.

Heroin Laws in Kentucky

While each state has drug laws restricting sale and possession, the particulars can vary from state to state. Heroin possession and sale remains illegal under both federal and Kentucky drug laws. The table below highlights the specifics of Kentucky's heroin statutes.

Code Section

Kentucky Revised Statutes 218A.010, et seq.: Controlled Substances


Class D felony; Subsequent offense: Class C felony


Class C felony; Subsequent offense: Class B felony; Selling to minor: Class C felony 1st offense: Class B subsequent offense


First offense: Class C felony; Subsequent offense: Class B felony; Within 1000 yds. of school: higher penalty

As a Schedule I drug, heroin is criminalized at the state and federal level. These prohibitions extend from simple possession and cover everything from manufacturing and cultivation to trafficking and distribution. Drug charges, especially for dealing, are serious, and can carry significant penalties including lengthy prison sentences and large fines. Kentucky is no exception.

For example, heroin possession in Kentucky can lead to a 10-year prison sentence, while trafficking can get you 20 years behind bars. That being said, Kentucky is one of many states that have recently set up specialized “drug courts.” These courts aim to end the cycle of substance abuse by allowing first- and second-time drug crime defendants to enter into drug treatment programs instead of serving lengthy jail sentences.

Kentucky Heroin Laws: Related Resources

State drug laws often reflect the social norms of a particular time and place, and as such they can change over time. You can contact a Kentucky drug crime attorney in your area if you would like legal advice regarding a drug matter. You can also visit FindLaw's Drug Charges section for additional articles and information on this topic. If you, or someone you know, has a substance abuse or drug problem, Kentucky's Office of Drug Control Policy has treatment resources that may help.

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