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.
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 south-central Kentucky doctor has been charged with prescribing pain medications outside of her professional practice, resulting in the death of a patient.
A federal grand jury in Bowling Green indicted Dr. Clella Hayes of Glasgow on Wednesday. Hayes is charged with issuing and authorizing prescriptions for fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone, Demerol, hydrocodone, Cheratussin and Valium over a five-year period.
The grand jury also alleged that Hayes gave the painkiller fentanyl to a patient in 2011, causing the patient to die.
Hayes was arrested Wednesday.
Hayes is listed among the family practitioners at Monroe County Medical Center in Tompkinsville. Court records did not list an attorney for Hayes. A message left for Hayes and hospital administrators was not immediately returned Wednesday afternoon.
Calling it a "cynical effort" to profit from people who have died from drug abuse, top officials in three states have asked a boutique fashion company to cease selling T-shirts that feature the names of well-known prescription drugs.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi along with the attorneys general of Kentucky and Maine this week sent a letter to Kitson Inc. criticizing the company for selling sport jersey type shirts with the drug names Vicodin, Xanax and Adderall written on the back.
An email to the company — which sells items online and at stores in California — was not immediately returned.
But in a statement posted on the company's Facebook page following a discussion about the shirts on NBC, Kitson contends that the T-shirts are helping create a dialogue about drug abuse.
Law enforcement groups across the commonwealth are urging residents to do away with their unused and expired prescription medications.
Kentucky now has nearly 150 permanent prescription drug disposal locations throughout the state, housed at police and sheriff's departments. The program is aimed at getting old prescription drugs out of medicine cabinets, where they can be stolen or discovered by children.
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.
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.
A bill requiring Kentucky Medicaid managed care operators publish a list of prescriptions and reimbursement prices on Wednesday passed a state Senate committee, following prodding from independent pharmacists asking for access to pricing standards before they fill prescriptions.
The group of independent pharmacists told lawmakers that they are still having trouble with reimbursements from the state's Medicaid managed care operators. And they said they were also still being dramatically undercut on prescription reimbursements when they did receive them.
Pharmacist Jonathan Van Lahr said his goal was to see transparency in the process.
"We are not asking to be paid exorbitant prices for these medications we dispense, just not to lose money. Or at least, let me know I'm going to lose money before I fill it," he says.
A Tennessee-licensed physician working in Kentucky has been ordered to close his practice because the state Board of Medical Licensure found he was dispensing "large quantities of narcotics" to customers from all around the state.