Office of the Attorney General
Statement from Attorney General Jack Conway on HB 4

Press Release Date:  Friday, April 13, 2012  
Revision Date:  Friday, April 13, 2012 
  (Revised to correct date of the special session.)  
Contact Information:  Shelley Catharine Johnson
Deputy Communications Director
502-696-5659 (office)
 


"It is certainly disappointing that lawmakers were unable to pass comprehensive legislation during the regular session of the General Assembly to fight prescription drug abuse in Kentucky. It is my understanding that Gov. Beshear will place HB 4 on the call for a special session of the General Assembly to begin on Monday, April 16.

As lawmakers renew their discussion of this important legislation, I am hopeful they will not use the Free Conference Report version of HB 4 as a starting point, but rather the original legislation proposed by Speaker Stumbo, which I supported.

To aggressively fight this epidemic, several things must be accomplished. Prescribers of Schedule II and III opiates, with reasonable exemptions for many in the medical community, must be required to use KASPER. Law enforcement must have greater access to KASPER data, so that we can identify disturbing prescribing trends. We need greater regulation of pain clinics to put an end to entrepreneurs using prescriptions to line their pockets with cash and to ensure that pain clinics are not dispensing drugs in a way intended for pharmacists.

In its current form, HB 4 does not accomplish the goals we have outlined. Lobbyists for the medical community have watered down this bill to the point that it would place even greater restrictions on law enforcement access to KASPER data, making it more difficult to do the job we are seeking to do. Lobbyists also persuaded the Senate to remove another critical portion of HB 4 that would require doctors to register and use KASPER. Currently, only about 25 percent of prescribers in Kentucky use this important law enforcement tool.

For the many families devastated by this scourge, I hope that the General Assembly, and the Senate in particular, will act in good faith to represent the larger public interest and not let special interests write the prescription drug legislation.

In the Office of the Attorney General, we pledge to act in good faith to ensure that legislation passed by the General Assembly works fairly and effectively."