Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway, Northern Kentucky Education Council Host Regional Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Program
Attorney General Jack Conway, his Keep Kentucky Kids Safe partners and the Northern Kentucky Education Council hosted a regional prescription drug abuse prevention and education program today at Thomas More College. The event drew nearly 100 students, educators, counselors and concerned citizens from across Northern Kentucky.
"I am pleased with the progress we're making in alerting Kentuckians, young and old, to the dangers of abusing prescription drugs," said General Conway. "This is an 'all hands on deck' issue that requires a coordinated effort between law enforcement, educators, Kentucky teens and their parents. Working together, we can help stop the scourge of prescription drug abuse in Kentucky."
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 mothers who lost their daughters to prescription drug overdoses, Lynn Kissick and Dr. Karen Shay. The partners have held prescription drug abuse prevention programs in middle and high schools across Kentucky.
"We appreciate General Conway and his partners for helping us to open a dialogue between our teens, educators, local law enforcement and parents about the very serious problem of prescription drug abuse," said Polly Page, Executive Director of the Northern Kentucky Education Council. "Through education and prevention programs like this, we can try to stop prescription drug abuse before it starts and help our kids succeed in school and life."
Non-medical use or abuse of prescription drugs is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States. According to a 2009 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, one in five U.S. high school students have abused prescription drugs. That's up from one in ten just a few years ago. With easy access to prescription medications, kids today are becoming drug addicts in their own homes.
"Prescription drug abuse is the most severe drug-related issue impacting Northern Kentuckians today," said Bill Mark, Director of the Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force. "Partnerships with the Office of the Attorney General, other law enforcement agencies and health care professionals are vital to the role of the Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force in stemming the tide of prescription drug trafficking in this region."
In addition to the prescription drug abuse prevention programs, Attorney General Conway and his partners have distributed informational posters to pharmacies across Kentucky to urge parents to monitor and secure prescription drugs in the home and to safely dispose of unneeded medications. The Attorney General's office has also created a prescription drug abuse information page at http://ag.ky.gov/rxabuse and a video that shows the heavy toll prescription drug abuse has taken on the Kissick and Shay families of Morehead.
Despite budget cuts of roughly 30%, General Conway has increased investigations into illegal prescription drug diversion, doctor shopping, overprescribing physicians and illegal out-of-state pharmacies through creation of Kentucky's only statewide Prescription Drug Diversion Task Force. Launched in 2009 with a $50,000 grant from NADDI, the task force has since participated in the largest prescription drug round-up in Kentucky's history.
Since 2008, General Conway's Drug Investigations Branch has opened 377 investigations, made 118 arrests, seized nearly 4,500 illegal pills and participated in 14 drug round-ups.