Kentuckians wanting to get rid of unused prescription medicines can drop them off this Saturday during a statewide “pill take back” program.
The partnership between Kentucky State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration will include take-back locations at the KSP posts in Bowling Green, Columbia, Elizabethtown, and Henderson, as well as 12 other locations statewide.
A nasal spray developed a Kentucky researcher is designed to reduce the number of heroin related overdoses. The invention by University of Kentucky pharmacy professor Daniel Wermeling has been fast-tracked by the Food and Drug Administration and is in its final round of clinical trials.
Wermeling’s goal was to create an easier way to administer the drug Naloxone, which can reverse potentially fatal heroin overdoses. He has been working on the nasal spray since 2009, with support from a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, with additional funding from the Kentucky Science and Technology Corp.
If the F.D.A gives final approval to the product, it could be available by prescription as early as next year.
Wermeling believes the nasal spray will be a much easier way to treat patients, as opposed to injecting them with the drug.
Kentucky will receive over $1 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to combat prescription drug abuse.
The money will be spread out over three years and used to enhance the state’s prescription drug monitoring program. Kentucky has the third highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the nation, and has recently seen a surge in the number of deaths related to heroin.
The funding was announced Tuesday in Paintsville by CDC Director Thomas Frieden. He was joined by Rep. Hal Rogers, a Somerset Republic who represents the state’s 5th District. During his announcement, Frieden lauded efforts made by the commonwealth to crack down on the illegal prescription drug trade.
In recent years, state lawmakers have passed legislation cracking down on pill mills, which are clinics that abuse their prescription-writing authority for people seeking pain medication for recreational use. Kentucky also requires controlled substance prescribers to use KASPER, the state’s prescription monitoring program.
The CDC says the number of KASPER reports has more than tripled since those laws went into effect, and there has been a nine-percent decline in the amount of controlled substance dispensing in the commonwealth.
Attorneys and judges from across the state are gathering in Louisville to discuss applying new research in addiction and brain science to better treat offenders enrolled in Kentucky’s drug courts.
Kentucky Supreme Court Justice John Minton, a former drug court judge and Bowling Green native, says that the field is only recently beginning to understand the links between emotional and substance abuse.
“We’re beginning to understand more and more about what we call ‘co-occurrences,’ and that is, there is substance abuse, but there is also some other co-existing or co-occurring mental or emotional condition, and each feeds on the other," Minton said. "And the challenge in drug court was to identify what those were, and see how to treat what first.”
Kentucky’s drug courts serve 115 of the state’s 120 counties, and offer an alternative to incarceration, which the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts says saves lives in addition to taxpayer money.
The number of overdose deaths related to heroin continues to climb in Kentucky.
A new report from the state’s Office of Drug Control Policy shows that while the number of total overdoses remained steady in 2013, deaths caused by heroin increased by more than 12 percent.
In 2012, 19.6 percent of drug related deaths recorded by the state were due to heroin. That number increased to 31.9 percent in 2013.
Overall, the number of drug deaths in Kentucky leveled off last year, increasing by only three from 2012.
Van Ingram, the Executive Director of Kentucky’s Office of Drug Control Policy, said one way to combat the rising number of heroin deaths would be to increase the availability of narcan, a drug used to halt the effects of opioid overdose. Narcan is currently found in emergency rooms and carried by paramedics.
“We’d like to see it in the hands of police officers, we’d like to see it in the hands of families of people who are at risk, and just as widespread as we can make it, because we can’t get people into treatment and we can’t help them turn their lives around once they’re lost,” Ingram told WKU Public Radio.
Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 6:26 pm
Pregnant women addicted to illegal narcotics or prescription pain pills could soon be jailed in Tennessee under a bill awaiting the governor's signature. The strict proposal enjoys bipartisan support — despite objections from doctors.
The number of drug-addicted babies in Kentucky who are hospitalized has increased significantly in a little more than a decade.
The Courier-Journal cited a recent report from the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center showing that the number has gone from 28 in 2000 to 824 in 2012.
Although a multi-pronged effort was launched last year to fight the rising number of addicted newborns, medical professionals say it's not enough. Treatment centers are struggling to stay open, there are waiting lists to get in, and too many babies are born struggling.
Preliminary figures in the state report suggested that number of newborns treated for addiction rose even further in 2013 to more than 900.
A multi-million dollar settlement between Kentucky and two pharmaceutical companies will fund a variety of drug treatment efforts.
Attorney General Jack Conway’s office announced Monday that over $32 million in settlement money will go toward expanding drug treatment centers, treatment scholarships and juvenile drug services.
The Substance Abuse treatment Advisory Committee will oversee the disbursement of the funds. It was created by Gov. Steve Beshear, and will be chaired by Conway.
The efforts are a response to the growing heroin abuse problem in Kentucky, which is the target of bipartisan legislation introduced in the General Assembly that could charge dealers with homicide in the event of an overdose death.
In 2012, heroin overdose deaths in Kentucky rose by 550 percent.
A Kentucky lawmaker is taking issue with proposed legislation aimed at tackling the state’s growing heroin problem.
Legislation from Republican Sen. Katie Stine would raise penalties for heroin traffickers and punish dealers by reclassifying overdose deaths as criminal homicide when there is sufficient evidence.
Although Stine says her legislation would also attempt to shore up drug treatment efforts, Sen. Perry Clark, a Democrat from Louisville, says it's another misstep in the failed War on Drugs.
“I’ve voted against it in the past, I’ll probably vote against it in the future. She’s using the same old law enforcement, criminal technique against drugs that don’t work.”
Clark says he does support the idea of a “Good Samaritan” law, in which individuals who bring an overdose victim to the attention of emergency services may be granted immunity. Stine has said her measure would include such a provision.
A report from the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy and the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet says that heroin deaths in Kentucky have risen 550 percent between 2011 and 2012.
A Kentucky State Police operation to apprehend a record number of drug traffickers has fallen short of its goal.
The KSP launched Operation Black Friday on Nov. 1, and since then they have arrested 339 out of a total 479 targeted offenders.
Although the operation was billed as the largest one-day drug roundup in agency history, the bulk of the arrests were made over the course of the past month. KSP spokesman Trooper Paul Blanton says despite calling short, Black Friday is the largest operation led by the agency, and a third of the targets remain at-large, and might still be caught.
“There are still arrest warrants out there. It’s just the nature of the people that the arrests warrants are for: They’re transient; they’re not staying in the same place. Once several, or once one of the people they normally do business with ends up going to jail, you know, that makes them kind of try and get under the radar," Blanton said.
Blanton did not say how much the operation cost, adding that ‘Black Friday’ would continue until however long it takes.