Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Hosts Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Program in Montgomery County

Press Release Date:  Thursday, October 13, 2011  
Contact Information:  Shelley Catharine Johnson
Deputy Communications Director
502-696-5659 (office)
 


Attorney General Jack Conway spoke to hundreds of students today at Montgomery County High School in Mt. Sterling, Ky. about the devastating consequences of prescription drug abuse. Approximately 400 9th and 10th graders attended the prevention and awareness program hosted by General Conway and his Keep Kentucky Kids Safe partners.

"Prescription drug abuse is the single biggest threat our students face today," said General Conway. "Through our Keep Kentucky Kids Safe public awareness program, we are warning students across the Commonwealth that prescription pill abuse will take their minds, their appetites and can eventually take their lives."

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 overdoses have doubled over the past decade.

"I never thought I would see the day when prescription drug overdoses surpassed traffic fatalities in Kentucky," said Van Ingram, Executive Director of Kentucky's Office of Drug Control Policy. "Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic that threatens an entire generation of our youth. We must continue to work together, through programs like Keep Kentucky Kids Safe, to educate and warn students about the dangers of abusing prescription pills."

Today's program is part of a 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 Dr. Karen Shay and Lynn Kissick, two mothers who lost their daughters to prescription drug overdoses.

"I appreciate all that Attorney General Conway is doing to help me raise awareness about this devastating problem," said Dr. Shay, a dentist in Morehead whose daughter, Sarah, died of a prescription drug overdose in 2006. "Every day we are losing more and more good kids, like Sarah, to prescription drug overdoses. No family deserves this type of heartache."

Since launching the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program in September 2010, Attorney General Conway and his partners have alerted 5,000 people in nearly a dozen schools across Kentucky about the dangers of prescription pill abuse.

The Keep Kentucky Kids Safe partners will host their next program at B. Michael Caudill Middle School in Richmond on Oct. 18 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Additional programs are scheduled this month in Bowling Green and Louisville.

Kentucky high school students are also invited to participate in a statewide prescription drug abuse prevention public service announcement (PSA) contest now underway. As part of the competition, students produce a 30-second video that shows the perils of prescription drug abuse. The first place winner will receive an Apple iPad generously donated by NADDI. The runner-up will receive a $100 Amazon.com gift card donated by the Kentucky Pharmacists Association.

The deadline for submitting a video is December 2, 2011. Winners will be announced on Dec. 14, 2011. Students may submit a PSA for consideration by visiting the Attorney General's Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Page at http://ag.ky.gov/rxabuse.htm

Prescription Drug Diversion Efforts

In addition to his education and awareness efforts, Attorney General Conway launched Kentucky's first and only statewide Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force in August of 2009. The task force has been involved in more than 130 prescription drug diversion investigations, including Operation Flamingo Road, the state's largest prescription drug bust that resulted in the arrest of more than 500 people.

Last week, Attorney General Conway joined with Gov. Steve Beshear and House Speaker Greg Stumbo in announcing new initiatives to combat the epidemic of prescription drug abuse in Kentucky. The multi-pronged effort includes legislative action to better track prescription drugs and to stop the illegal diversion of pills, licensing and regulation of pain clinics in Kentucky and expanded use of the state's prescription drug monitoring system, KASPER.

In addition to the work being done here in the Commonwealth, Attorney General Conway reached across party lines to work closely with Florida's Attorney General Pam Bondi to ensure that her state implemented an electronic prescription drug monitoring system similar to Kentucky's KASPER system.

The Attorney General's office is also a member of the newly created Interstate Prescription Drug Task Force that is working with neighboring states, like Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia, to shut down the prescription drug pipeline into Kentucky.