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.
A Kentucky Congressman is pushing legislation to force the withdrawal of a powerful painkiller from the market.
Somerset Republican Hal Rogers says the drug will only worsen the nation’s prescription drug abuse problems. Rogers describes Zohydro as a “crushable, pure hydrocodone pill” that threatens to become the next Oxycontin, another crushable painkiller that has been widely abused across the nation.
The Courier-Journal reports a single Zohydro pill has up to five times more hydrocodone that medications combined with non-addictive drugs, such as Vicodin.
In addition to the U.S. House legislation, a similar measure has been introduced in the Senate.
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg has defended her agency’s approval of Zohydro, saying that the drug doesn’t contain the same risk of potentially fatal liver damage that is found in other pain-killing narcotics.
Over 40 consumer watchdog groups have petitioned the FDA to pull Zohydro off the market.
Kentucky's Attorney General continues to say he's strongly considering a run for governor.
Democrat Jack Conway was in south-central Kentucky Wednesday, addressing students and civic groups about issues including the state's prescription drug abuse problems.
After a speech to the Noon Rotary Club in Bowling Green, Conway told reporters there are other races that deserve the spotlight ahead of the 2015 gubernatorial election.
"With the Alison Lundergan Grimes campaign underway, they deserve a few quarters under their belt before a governor's race lands on top of them," Conway said. "But I would think that by the spring of next year, whoever's running for governor ought to be starting a fundraising operation to put together the resources necessary."
Grimes is challenging Republican Senator Mitch McConnell in next year's much-talked-about Kentucky Senate race. Conway told his Bowling Green audience that coal will continue to be an important source of energy for the region, and that the state must continue to step up its fight against prescription pill abuse.
A judge has ruled that a civil trial involving the maker of OxyContin should remain in Pikeville.
The lawsuit filed by Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma alleges that the company misled health care providers, consumers and government officials regarding the risk of addiction associated with OxyContin. Conway is seeking reimbursement of money spent on law enforcement, drug treatment programs and Medicaid prescriptions.
Purdue Pharma had requested that the trial be moved, saying an impartial jury couldn't be seated in Pike County. Prosecutors objected.
A judge is considering whether a civil trial involving the maker of OxyContin should be moved away from Pikeville.
The lawsuit filed by Kentucky Attorney General against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma alleges that the company misled health care providers, consumers and government officials regarding the risk of addiction associated with OxyContin. Conway is seeking reimbursement of money spent on law enforcement, drug treatment programs and Medicaid prescriptions.
Kentucky officials will start a yearlong study next month to determine the effects of controversial new laws designed to curb prescription pill abuse.
The Courier-Journal reports the Cabinet for Health and Family Services has contracted with the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy's Institute for Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy on the study, which will run July 1 through June 30, 2014.
David Hopkins, who manages the state's prescription drug monitoring program called KASPER, said the study will look at several areas including changes in prescribing patterns, the impact on drug-treatment centers and whether the laws have had unintended consequences.
Those to be surveyed for the study include doctors, dentists and licensing boards. Researchers will also review data from the prescription drug monitoring program and statistics from hospitals and substance abuse centers.
Kentucky lawmakers agree some changes need to be made to a law passed last year that cracks down on illegal "pill mills." But what exactly those changes should be remains open to debate.
The Courier-Journal reports legislators want to amend the law to make it more manageable for honest physicians, while still cracking down on doctors who have helped fuel prescription drug abuse in parts of Kentucky by writing scores of bogus prescriptions for pills that are later sold to addicts.
Many Kentucky doctors have complained to Governor Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway that the new rules are too cumbersome and confusing, and make it needlessly difficult for physicians to get pain medication to patients who need it.
A new report finds there has been an “alarming” increase in drug overdoses in Kentucky in recent years. The data compiled for the study was collected over an eleven year period.
The Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center says drug overdose mortality rates increased 282 percent between 2000 and 2010. In the Bluegrass State, that means the overdose mortality rate has jumped from six deaths per one hundred thousand people to nearly 23 deaths per one hundred thousand people during that eleven year period.
The Research Center is located in the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health, and is an agent for the Kentucky Department of Public Health. The new report is based on an examination of emergency departments, inpatient hospitalization statistics, and mortality data.