Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Urges Participation in Drug "Take-Back" Event
Attorney General Jack Conway is urging Kentuckians to take part in a prescription drug “Take-Back” day on Saturday, April 30, 2011, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time to help prevent increased prescription drug abuse and theft.
This marks the second nationwide prescription drug “Take-Back” day with collection sites in local communities across the country. More than 80 prescription drug collection sites have been designated across the Commonwealth as part of this initiative.
The Office of the Attorney General will be hosting a “Take-Back” event at its office in Prestonsburg, 361 North Lake Drive. Residents throughout the state may search for a site near their communities by visiting the DEA website at http://tinyurl.com/Drug-Take-Back-Day
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.
“That’s why I am travelling across the Commonwealth to educate our young people about the dangers of prescription drug abuse,” General Conway said. Just this past week, I’ve been to schools in Hopkins, Christian, and Floyd counties - next week I’ll be in Daviess and Warren counties. What I’m learning is almost every teen knows someone who’s abused prescription drugs and most are getting the drugs from their parents’ unlocked medicine cabinets.”
Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are increasing at an alarming rate, particularly among youth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five teenagers today have used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes. That’s up from one in ten three years ago.
“By monitoring the prescription pills in your home and taking advantage of the upcoming free ‘Take-Back’ sites, we can reduce the threat these drugs can pose to our families and particularly Kentucky kids,” General Conway said.
The “Take-Back” initiative is a collaborative effort between local, state and federal law enforcement and government agencies to prevent increased prescription drug abuse and theft by collecting potentially dangerous expired, unused or unwanted medications for destruction. The service is free and anonymous.
Attorney General Conway’s Drug Diversion Efforts
In addition to his participation in the “Take-Back” initiative, General Conway has joined with the Kentucky Justice Cabinet, Kentucky Pharmacists Association, National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI), Operation Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education (UNITE) and concerned parents to launch a statewide prescription drug abuse education and prevention initiative. It includes school presentations to alert Kentucky middle and high school students to the dangers of using prescription drugs for recreational purposes.
The Office of the Attorney General has also produced a video with two mothers from Morehead, Ky., Dr. Karen Shay and Lynn Kissick, who lost daughters to prescription drug overdoses. The video is available for viewing on the Attorney General’s prescription drug abuse page at http://ag.ky.gov/rxabuse.htm . The video is also shown during school presentations.
In 2009, Attorney General Conway launched Kentucky’s first and only statewide prescription drug abuse task force to combat prescription drug trafficking, overprescribing physicians, doctor shopping and illegal out-of-state pharmacies. The task force was a key participant in the largest drug bust in Kentucky history.
OAG investigators have also worked closely with Operation UNITE, U.S Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting (KASPER) system, administered by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, to track controlled substance prescriptions dispensed within the state.
General Conway also recently worked with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to ensure that Gov. Rick Scott implemented an electronic prescription drug monitoring system, similar to KASPER, to help cut down on overprescribing physicians and people who are doctor shopping. People have been travelling to Florida and bringing the pills to Kentucky for sale on the streets. Law enforcement officers estimate that 60 percent of illegal pain pills in Kentucky come from Florida.
“I am hopeful that when Florida’s electronic monitoring system is up and running that it will greatly reduce the flood of pills into our state and help save the lives of Kentuckians,” General Conway said.
For more information about prescription drug abuse and prevention, visit http://ag.ky.gov/rxabuse.