Office of the Attorney General
Statement from Attorney General Conway on Passage of Prescription Drug Abuse Legislation

Press Release Date:  Friday, April 20, 2012  
Contact Information:  Allison Gardner Martin
Communications Director
502-696-5651 (office)

"The bill passed tonight by the General Assembly makes strides forward in our efforts to combat prescription painkiller abuse, which I have made a top priority as Attorney General. Throughout this legislative process, I have spoken out for three major provisions that should be included in any final legislation. First, doctors who prescribe Schedule II and III painkillers, with reasonable exceptions for anesthesia surgery and other practices, should be required to register with and use the prescription monitoring system known as KASPER. Second, we need to better regulate pain clinics so that entrepreneurs do not get into the pill mill business and pain clinics cannot dispense large quantities of medication on site. Third, the KASPER system should allow law enforcement to see prescribing trends and data to help them adequately investigate disturbing prescribing and dispensing trends.

The legislation passed this evening takes important steps forward on those first two issues, but it does not address my final priority, which is law enforcement's need to utilize the data for better investigations. Special interests fought to limit law enforcement access to data. The vast majority of doctors do remarkable work every day, and most doctors I have spoken with want to be responsible in helping curb this epidemic and they want to better police the very few bad actors within their profession. Therefore, I remain perplexed why some lobbying interests remained so resistant in light of the magnitude of this epidemic that is killing three people in our Commonwealth every day.

I appreciate the confidence of those in the General Assembly, and especially the House, who wanted to move KASPER to my office, but that in and of itself, was never a goal of mine. My overarching goal is to enable law enforcement to see the data that will help us collectively fight this scourge. I remain committed to that principle and am confident steps will be taken in the future to address this issue.

I will work with the legislature and the Beshear Administration to implement the law as efficiently and effectively as possible. Too many people have died. Too many people have lost loved ones. Too many families have been shattered.

I encourage those who are fearful of increased oversight of prescribing practices to end the hyperbole and begin a constructive process with the legislature and Executive Branch to implement this bill. We in government and law enforcement recognize the vast majority of doctors are trying to do the right thing, but we need their cooperation to adequately investigate the very few who contribute to this travesty that is killing Kentuckians."

Jack Conway
Kentucky Attorney General