drug abuse

J. Tyler Franklin

A Bowling Green organization that provides treatment for youth suffering from alcohol and drug dependency has received additional state dollars. 

Attorney General Andy Beshear presented Necco with a $700,000 check Thursday.  Beshear said early intervention is key to breaking the cycle of addiction.

"If you can get somebody successfully through recovery, not only are they not going to use, but their kids and their kids' kids are less likely to use," stated Beshear.  "By investing in adolescent treatment now, we increase our chances of reducing future costs of law enforcement, incarceration, and health services."

Necco received the funding from an Oxycontin lawsuit filed by the attorney general’s office against Purdue Pharma.  The settlement dollars are going to drug treatment and recovery facilities throughout Kentucky. 

Necco has ten offices statewide, including locations in Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Owensboro, and Somerset.


Labels for the first long-acting opioid addiction treatment device are rolling off printing machines Friday. Trainings begin Saturday for doctors who want to learn to insert four matchstick-size rods under the skin. They contain the drug buprenorphine, which staves off opioid cravings.

The implant, called Probuphine, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday, and is expected to be available to patients by the end of June.

“This is just the starting point for us to continue to fight for the cause of patients with opioid addiction,” said Behshad Sheldon, CEO of Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures Probuphine.

But debate continues about how effective the implant will be and whether insurers will cover it.

A new study says prescriptions for commonly abused medications and doctor-shopping by pill seekers have decreased since Kentucky passed legislation targeting prescription drug abuse.

The 2012 law expanded the state's prescription drug monitoring system and mandated that pain management clinics be owned by licensed doctors, among other initiatives. Researchers at the University of Kentucky found that the number of opioid prescriptions to people who were doctor-shopping fell by more than 50 percent after the law was passed. Doctor-shopping occurs when a patient receives similar prescriptions, typically painkillers, from multiple doctors.

The study also found that 24 pain management clinics that were not owned by doctors have shut down in the state.

Governor Steve Beshear, Attorney General Jack Conway and legislative leaders announced the findings at the Capitol on Monday.

Abuse of prescription painkillers is a "growing, deadly epidemic," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Oct. 24, the Food and Drug Administration recommended putting new restrictions on hydrocodone, sold as Vicodin and other brand names.

Going to college has just gotten easier for high school seniors who have overcome prescription drug abuse.  

Attorney General Jack Conway announced a new scholarship on Monday that's targeted to high school seniors who have been impacted by prescription drug abuse, either as a recovering addict, as the child of an addict or in some other way.

The initiative is intended to send a clear message to teens impacted by prescription drug abuse that the future can be bright.

Two $1,500 scholarships will be awarded each year. The first ones will be announced next May.

The scholarships are named in honor the late Sarah Shay of Morehead and Michael Donta of Ashland, both of whom died as a result of prescription drug abuse.

An eastern Kentucky official has announced a settlement in a lawsuit over the drug OxyContin.

The Appalachian News-Express cited a statement from Pike Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford in reporting that drug maker Purdue Pharma agreed to pay $4 million to settle a lawsuit over abuse of the narcotic.

Rutherford said he couldn't give further details about the settlement due to terms of the agreement.

The county initially filed the lawsuit in 2007 and asked for damages the community suffered after the company marketed OxyContin as a safer alternative to other pain medicine.

The drug became so pervasive in eastern Kentucky, it was dubbed "hillbilly heroin."

Rutherford indicated in the statement that he was pleased with terms of the settlement.

"Finally, Pike County Government will have the funds to make a difference in drug addiction," Rutherford said. "We can now establish the Pike County Re-Entry Partnership for people convicted of drug violations. It has taken years to get done. Our attorney, Gary C. Johnson, was passionate and brought this about."

The goal of the Pike County Re-Entry Partnership would be to rehabilitate people who are addicted to drugs.

Kentucky has made inroads in its fight against illegal drug abuse, and the momentum against drug pushers has gained steam thanks to a new law aimed at reversing a trend in which the state became a "prescription drug playground," Gov. Steve Beshear said Monday night.

Louisville police have arrested a man who is accused of obtaining prescriptions for painkillers from 28 dentists in just a five month period. The Courier Journal reports that 42 year old Michael A. Osswald of Louisville is charged with 22 counts of attempting to obtain or obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.