FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Matthew Casey Wethington Act for Substance Abuse Intervention, commonly known as Casey’s Law, has made a difference in Kentucky for more than a decade and should continue, the state’s top lawyer argues.
The law allows family members and friends to secure court-ordered drug treatment for a loved one struggling with a substance use disorder and is a necessary tool to combat addiction, Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Wednesday in discussing is legal defense of the law in the state Court of Appeals.
The law, passed unanimously by the Kentucky Senate and 94-1 by the House of Representatives in 2004, is currently facing a constitutional challenge. In a brief filed this week Cameron argues that the law is constitutional and should be upheld.
“Casey’s Law is critical to Kentucky’s ongoing fight against the drug epidemic, and we are doing everything in our power to defend it in court,” Cameron said. “With a rise in illicit drugs like crystal meth and fentanyl, Casey’s Law is an important intervention tool. In 2018 alone, we lost 1,247 Kentuckians to drug overdoses, and we cannot afford to lose this important method for connecting those suffering to necessary treatment services.”
Casey’s Law is named for Matthew Casey Wethington, a 23-year-old Kentuckian who died of a heroin overdose after his parents tried to secure involuntary drug treatment for him. At the time of Casey’s death, Kentucky had no rule in place to secure court-ordered drug treatment for those who need it.
“Casey’s Law is an essential tool in the fight to reclaim the lives and futures of those who struggle with substance use disorders,” said Senator Chris McDaniel.
The law outlines a process by which a family member or friend can file a petition before the district court to determine if a loved should be ordered to undergo treatment. For treatment to be ordered, the court must find that an individual suffers from a substance use disorder, presents an imminent threat of danger to self, family, or others as a result of a substance use disorder or is substantially likely to pose such a threat in the near future, and can reasonably benefit from treatment.