A change to the so-called pill bill in Frankfort has restarted the fight over the measure in the General Assembly. Prescription abuse is rampant in Kentucky, and the bill strengthens restrictions on the drugs and who can sell them.The measure didn't clear the General Assembly during this year's regular session, and lawmakers have been called in for a special session to reconsider the legislation.
The House has decided to return the bill to its original form and ignore the last-minute compromise that was left on the table at the end of the regular session.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo says Kentucky’s problem is worse than anyone really knows and the original bill allows the state to collect data on prescription-related deaths.
“As I was going to predict to you today, that once we get that data, if this bill passes, it’s probably going to be 3 to 5 times what we think it is now,” Stumbo says.
The move prompted frustration from doctor groups who want to return to the compromise. Bill Doll of the Kentucky Medical Association says the return of the original language is putting the issue back at square one. “I mean the proposal negates all the hard work and the effort that went on during the regular session. It reinstates most of the provisions, if not all, that have been deleted or modified in the agreed compromise,” Doll says.
But Stumbo and other supporters say that compromise would not curb drug abuse.