Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Hosts Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Program in Bowling Green
Attorney General Jack Conway spoke to students today in Warren County about the devastating consequences of prescription drug abuse. Approximately 400 students at Greenwood High School in Bowling Green attended the prevention and awareness program hosted by General Conway and his Keep Kentucky Kids Safe partners.
"I want to make sure we don't lose another generation of kids to prescription pill addiction," said General Conway. "Kentucky kids need to know that one of two things will happen if they abuse prescription drugs; they will end up in jail or dead."
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 and now surpass the number of traffic fatalities.
According to a 2008 Kentucky Incentives for Prevention (KIP) Survey, the fastest area of prescription drug use among high school sophomores was in communities in Western Kentucky.
"Investigations into prescription pill trafficking in Warren County are up nearly 30 percent," said Tommy Loving, Director of the Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force. "We already have 80 prescription drug diversion cases this year, compared to 62 in 2010. This is a very troubling trend. I appreciate General Conway and his Keep Kentucky Kids Safe partners for alerting our kids to the dangers of abusing prescription pills."
Attorney General Conway was joined in Bowling Green by Van Ingram, Executive Director of Kentucky's Office of Drug Control Policy and Mike Donta, a concerned parent from Ashland, Ky. who lost his son last year after a long battle with prescription drug abuse.
"These pills will grab hold of you and they won't let go," said Donta. "My son, Michael, was a good kid who came from a good family with two parents who loved him. Unfortunately, he chose to abuse prescription pills and it cost him his life."
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.
Since its launch, Attorney General Conway and his partners have taken their Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program to more than a dozen schools across Kentucky. The next program is Wednesday, Oct. 26 at Barret Traditional Middle School in Louisville from 12:30- 1:30 p.m.
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 Dec. 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
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.
Recently, Attorney General Conway joined with Gov. Steve Beshear and House Speaker Greg Stumbo to announce 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.