Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Takes Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Program to Christian, Hopkins County Schools
Attorney General Jack Conway and his Keep Kentucky Kids Safe partners spoke to nearly 1,400 students in Christian and Hopkins counties today about the devastating consequences of prescription drug abuse. Nearly 400 students attended the prevention and awareness program at Christian County High School with Attorney General Conway, Rep. John Tilley, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Mike Donta, a concerned parent who lost a son to prescription drug addiction.
“I want kids across Kentucky to know that it is never okay to take prescription pills that are not prescribed to them,” said General Conway. “Kids who take prescription pills for fun suffer in school, damage relationships with friends and family and can end up in jail. Most importantly, they are putting their lives at risk.”
Non-medical use or abuse of prescription drugs is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States, according to Office of National Drug Control Policy. In Kentucky, prescription drug overdose deaths have more than doubled from 403 in 2000 to nearly 980 in 2009. Today, there are more overdose deaths in the Commonwealth than traffic fatalities.
“As a former prosecutor and now as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, I have gained a deeper understanding of just how damaging drug abuse is to the Commonwealth and how crucial it is to educate our younger citizens early and often,” said Rep. John Tilley. “Attorney General Conway and I are both strongly committed to reducing drug abuse of any kind, and programs like this play a major role in that regard. I want to thank him for coming to our community and giving me a chance to take part.”
Attorney General Conway also warned more than 1,000 students at Madisonville North Hopkins High School about the dangers of abusing prescription pills. Attending the event with General Conway were representatives from the Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force and the Kentucky Pharmacists Association.
Today’s programs are part of statewide initiative General Conway launched last fall with the Kentucky Justice Cabinet and its Office of Drug Control Policy, Kentucky Pharmacists Association, National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI), Operation UNITE and mothers who lost their daughters to prescription drug overdoses, Lynn Kissick and Dr. Karen Shay.
General Conway next visits Prestonsburg High School from 1-2 p.m. on April 26. Prevention programs are also planned in Davies and Warren Counties next month.
With easy access to prescription medications, General Conway and his partners are urging parents to monitor and secure prescription pills in their homes and safely dispose of old or unneeded pills by utilizing pill collection sites and participating in national prescription drug “take-back” days. The next “take-back” initiative is on April 30, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Despite budget cuts of roughly 30%, General Conway has increased investigations into illegal prescription drug diversion, doctor shopping, overprescribing physicians and illegal out-of-state pharmacies through creation of Kentucky’s only statewide Prescription Drug Diversion Task Force. Launched in 2009 with a $50,000 grant from NADDI, the task force worked closely with Operation UNITE and other agencies in the largest prescription drug round-up in Kentucky’s history.
In February 2011, General Conway’s Drug Diversion Task Force executed search warrants at two pain clinics and two residences in Johnson County as part of a year-long investigation into overprescribing physicians.
For more information on General Conway’s efforts to combat prescription drug abuse, please visit http://ag.ky.gov/rxabuse