drugs

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Robert Stivers, the president of the Kentucky State Senate, said he’ll ask to intervene in a legal challenge against OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma in order to release documents that deal with a settlement the company made with the state in late 2015.

Stivers, a Republican from Manchester, suggested the case was improperly settled by former Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway, saying the $24 million windfall amounted to “pennies on the dollar” of what the state could have gotten.

In late May, several senators went to the floor of the Senate to talk about people in their states who are affected by the opioid crisis. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., talked about Chelsea Carter.

"She told me her drug habit began when she was 12 years old," said Capito.

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Lawyers for the Boston Globe have asked a Kentucky appeals court to release the secret testimony from a member of the family that controls one of the country's largest manufacturers of prescription painkillers.

The Kentucky Attorney General's office sued Purdue Pharma in 2007 for its deceptive marketing of OxyContin, an addictive prescription painkiller. The case was settled in 2015 for $24 million. But before it settled, former company president Richard Sackler gave an on-the-record deposition that is part of the court file. Sackler is a member of the family that controls the company.

GOP's Health Care Rollback Collides with the Opioid Epidemic

Jun 20, 2017
Flickr/Creative Commons/Dimitris Kalogeropoylos

The Republican campaign to roll back former President Barack Obama's health care law is colliding with the opioid epidemic. Medicaid cutbacks would hit hard in states deeply affected by the addiction crisis and struggling to turn the corner, according to state data and concerned lawmakers in both parties.

The central issue is that the House health care bill would phase out expanded Medicaid, which allows states to provide federally backed insurance to low-income adults previously not eligible. Many people in that demographic are in their 20s and 30s and dealing with opioid addiction. Dollars from Washington have allowed states to boost their response to the crisis, paying for medication, counseling, therapy and other services.

Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital

Amid the opioid epidemic in Kentucky, hospitals say overdoses have strained emergency rooms.

Kentucky hospital officials told the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer that drug overdose cases require intervention and critical care, tying up resources.

The opioid crisis hasn't hit western Kentucky's Daviess County, where methamphetamine is still the dominant street drug, as hard as the rest of the state. Dr. Charles Hobelmann, an emergency department physician at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, said the frequency of opioid overdoses is increasing, however.

The state of Ohio has sued five major drug manufacturers for their role in the opioid epidemic. In the lawsuit filed Wednesday, state Attorney General Mike DeWine alleges these five companies "helped unleash a health care crisis that has had far-reaching financial, social, and deadly consequences in the State of Ohio."

Named in the suit are:

  • Purdue Pharma
  • Endo Health Solutions
  • Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and subsidiary Cephalon
  • Johnson & Johnson and subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals

Addiction experts are up in arms over remarks by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in which he referred to medication-assisted treatment for addiction as "substituting one opioid for another."

Nearly 700 researchers and practitioners sent a letter Monday communicating their criticisms to Price and urging him to "set the record straight."

Kentucky LRC

The Secretary of Kentucky’s Justice and Public Safety Cabinet says he’s thrilled with the impact of the state’s needle exchange programs.

John Tilley believes the 32 local needle exchange efforts in Kentucky represent a change in how the state is facing the growing problems of opioid addiction, and diseases spread through the use of infected syringes.

Tilley says many of the addicts participating in needle exchanges are deciding to get help.

“They are five times—five times—more likely to enter treatment. And we’ve had great success in getting people who go to these programs into treatment, so that’s a public health win. We have to do it to battle back Hepatitis C—that’s a public health nightmare in Kentucky.”

Regional Group Collects Nearly 3,000 Pounds of Old Meds

May 2, 2017
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The anti-drug coalition made up of several eastern Kentucky counties says it has collected nearly 3,000 pounds of old prescription medications.

Operation UNITE said in a release that its annual Drug Take-Back Day collected pills brought in for disposal from citizens. Many prescription meds that don't get thrown away are often abused by family members and friends.

UNITE president Nancy Hale says it was the largest amount of pills the group has ever collected.

The drug take-back effort was held on Saturday around the country. UNITE's collection surpassed the previous record by more than 600 pounds.

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Pulaski County is getting a residential drug treatment center for women.

 

The 100 bed facility is one of the larger treatment centers in Kentucky and will only serve female patients. An opening date has not yet been set.

 

Kim Worley is the operations director at Adanta, a behavioral health service investing in the center. He said there’s a major need for drug treatment programs in the Somerset area.

“Our region of the state is one of the ones that's worst represented in terms of some of the statistics for these people dealing with these problems. And there was nothing down here for them,” Worley said.

He said the treatment that will be offered at the center has a solid track record of success.

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Kentucky State Police officers are teaming up with the federal government to collect unused and outdated prescription medications.

Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, and drop-off locations will be set up at locations across the commonwealth.

State Police spokesman Josh Brashears says it’s opportunity to get rid of medications that could be accidentally ingested by children, stolen, or misused.

“Any kind of solid dosage units—pills or liquid cough syrup, anything like that, we can accept and safely dispose of that.”

Park Place Recovery Center for Women

Kentucky’s opioid addiction epidemic sometimes takes its toll on the most vulnerable in society – babies.

Now the healthcare services company LifeSkills is opening a new substance abuse treatment center in Scottsville. It will accept pregnant women, as well women with  infants up to 10 months old.

Geneva Bradshaw is program manager for Park Place Recovery Center for Women.

"We believe the addition of being able to bring their infants will definitely increase their motivation for wanting to get assistance and the help that they need.”

Bradshaw says pregnant women pose a major risk to their babies when use they opioids.

Kentucky Sheriff Accused of Stealing Painkillers Resigns

Apr 4, 2017
Webmd.com

A Kentucky sheriff has resigned after pleading guilty to charges stemming from the theft of painkillers from a terminally ill cancer patient.

WDRB reports that Carroll County Sheriff Jamie Kinman resigned Monday after pleading guilty to 11 charges related to the theft of painkillers. His plea comes as an opioid crisis sweeps the U.S. and reaches epidemic levels in the state.

Kinman's plea required him to enroll in a one-year rehabilitation program and resign. He was sentenced to five years of probation and could have the convictions dropped if he doesn't get into further legal trouble.

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Doctors would only be able to prescribe three days’ worth of painkillers under a bill that passed out of a legislative committee on Wednesday.

The legislation would also increase penalties for trafficking fentanyl and other synthetic opioid drugs.

The bill comes as Louisville and other cities and counties around Kentucky are seeing surges in overdoses and deaths related to illicit drugs spiked with fentanyl and other synthetics.

Gov. Matt Bevin threw his support behind the legislation, saying he wants to enhance punishments against dealers of the synthetic drugs.

The Henderson County school system is preparing to begin random drug-testing. 

Starting in the 2017-18 school year, middle and high school students who participate in extra-curricular activities and those applying for a parking permit will be subject to the testing. 

Band Director Adam Thomas says he hopes the new policy will be a deterrent. 

"If they're at a party or something like that and somebody offers them something, we really hope they will say 'What if this is the week I get drawn in the random testing and we've got the big game on Friday or state marching band on Saturday? I don't want to miss out on that because I made one poor decision.'"

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