Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway's Prescription Drug Diversion Task Force Expands

Press Release Date:  Thursday, March 18, 2010  
Contact Information:  Shelley Catharine Johnson
Deputy Communications Director
502-696-5659 (office)

Attorney General Jack Conway and his Drug Investigations Branch today announced the addition of the Hazard and Manchester police departments to the Office of the Attorney General Prescription Drug Diversion Task Force. General Conway launched the task force in August 2009 as part of his comprehensive plan to get illegal prescription drugs off of the streets and out of the hands of those who are abusing them.

"Prescription drug abuse is a problem that affects everyone, not just criminals," said Hazard Police Chief Ronnie Bryant. "Average families are struggling with prescription pill addiction. I am thankful that the Attorney General and Operation UNITE are working with our police department and other law enforcement agencies to address this issue. We cannot fight this battle alone."

General Conway's Prescription Drug Diversion Task Force is Kentucky's first statewide task force devoted solely to investigating prescription drug trafficking, overprescribing physicians, doctor shopping and illegal out-of-state pharmacies.

"I commend Chief Bryant and Manchester Police Chief Jeff Culver for the work they are doing to fight prescription drug abuse in their communities and look forward to working with them to address the epidemic of prescription pill abuse across the state," said General Conway. "Through our task force, partnerships with law enforcement across Kentucky and our continued work with Operation UNITE, we can step up our fight against an enemy that has devastated families in every corner of the Commonwealth."

Owensboro Police, the Menifee County Sheriff's Department and Morehead City Police are among the local law enforcement agencies that have assigned officers to General Conway's task force.

In October 2009, General Conway's Prescription Drug Diversion Task Force participated in the largest drug sweep in Kentucky history. A total of 518 felony arrest warrants were issued, resulting in the arrest of more than 300 people over two days. Working with Operation UNITE, the task force was responsible for 27 of the arrests on 30 indictments.

In addition to investigating prescription pill abuse, General Conway's Drug Investigations Branch has trained hundreds of local law enforcement and health care professionals in Kentucky, including physicians and pharmacists, on drug diversion efforts, illegal out-of-state pharmacies, how to identify drug seekers and what to do with the information.

The next OAG drug diversion training session for physicians will be held in April in Hazard in connection with the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.