Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Hosts Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Program in Madison County
Attorney General Jack Conway spoke to students today in Madison County about the devastating consequences of prescription drug abuse. Nearly 600 students at B. Michael Caudill Middle School attended the prevention and awareness program hosted by General Conway and his Keep Kentucky Kids Safe partners.
"Education is an integral part of my comprehensive plan to combat prescription pill abuse, said General Conway. "I've been traveling across Kentucky to make sure students know that abusing prescription pills can cost them their future and their lives. I am also urging parents to lock-up and monitor prescription pills in their homes."
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.
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. Joining General Conway in Richmond today was Mike Donta, an Ashland, Ky. man whose son, Michael, died in 2010 at the age of 24 after battling prescription pill addiction.
"My son had a bright future until he started abusing prescription pills," said Donta. "I want kids to know that if they make the same choices Michael did and start abusing prescription drugs, they will likely end up just like him. There is no greater pain for a parent than to have to bury their child."
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. Additional programs are scheduled this month in Bowling Green and Louisville.
"Prescription drug abuse has become far too common in Kentucky; affecting not only the abuser but many times the children in the home," said Kimberly Quinlan, Youth Service Center Director for Madison County schools. "I see firsthand the affect prescription pill abuse has on the whole family. It is important to have programs like this in our schools to provide information to students on the affects of prescription drug use in hopes of preventing future abuse."
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
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.