Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Hosts Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Programs in Murray and Paducah
Attorney General Jack Conway took his Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program to Calloway and McCracken counties today, alerting nearly 1,500 students to the dangers of taking prescription pills that are not prescribed to them.
"Public awareness plays an important role in our fight against prescription drug abuse," General Conway said. "I am traveling the state to make sure Kentucky kids know that when they take a pill that wasn't prescribed to them they are jeopardizing their lives and their futures."
Non-medical use or abuse of prescription drugs is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States. According to an analysis by Forbes Magazine, Kentucky is the fourth most-medicated state in the country. More than 1,000 deaths a year in Kentucky can be attributed to prescription narcotic overdoses.
There is also concern about a survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where one in five teens admitted to using a prescription drug non-medically.
"Having Attorney General Conway visit the students of Calloway County Middle School will help reinforce the danger of prescription drug abuse," said David Dowdy, Public Relations Coordinator for Calloway County Schools. "Often, a warning message delivered in person by an elected official and other experts has more impact than the same information delivered by teachers and parents. We certainly appreciate Jack Conway taking an interest in the well-being of our community."
Attorney General Conway launched Keep Kentucky Kids Safe in 2010 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 from Morehead, Ky. who lost their daughters to prescription drug overdoses. Shay, Kissick and Mike Donta, of Ashland, Ky. are among a growing number of parents who are participating in the statewide initiative.
To date, the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe partners have held prevention assemblies in nearly two-dozen schools across the Commonwealth, alerting nearly 15,000 students to the deadly consequences of prescription pill abuse.
"We deeply appreciate the work of Attorney General Conway and all those involved in the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program to make this message available to the students of McCracken County," said Dr. Nancy Waldrop, McCracken County Superintendent.
Prescription Drug Diversion Efforts
Earlier this week, Attorney General Conway joined Governor Beshear, House Speaker Stumbo, members of the Kentucky House and Senate and law enforcement for the signing of HB 1 to combat prescription drug abuse in Kentucky. The legislation will keep entrepreneurs out of the pill mill business and require doctors, with reasonable exceptions, to use Kentucky's prescription monitoring program (KASPER).
In addition to his legislative 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.
General Conway also reached across party lines to work 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 two continue to work closely to stop the flow of illegal prescription pills from Florida into Kentucky and to see that every state implements a prescription drug monitoring program and that those programs are able to share data.
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.