Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Hosts Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Programs in Oldham and Henry Counties
Attorney General Jack Conway took his Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program to Oldham and Henry counties today, alerting hundreds of students to the dangers of abusing prescription pills.
"This is a matter of life and death," said General Conway. "I want Kentucky kids to know that it is never okay to take a pill that is not prescribed to them. These are some of the most dangerous and addictive substances on the planet. They will take your appetite, your mind and eventually your life."
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.
Nearly 700 students attended the awareness and prevention programs at North Oldham and Henry County high schools. General Conway launched the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe initiative 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 who lost their daughters to prescription drug overdoses.
"Taking on the formidable battle against illegal substances, especially prescription drug abuse, requires committed teamwork between kids, their families, educators, the community and law enforcement," said Dan Orman, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services with Oldham County Schools. "General Conway's direct involvement in this critical fight personifies the commitment necessary throughout Kentucky to keep our children safe."
Attorney General Conway was joined in Oldham and Henry counties by Dr. Shay, whose daughter, Sarah, died of a prescription drug overdose in 2006.
"The pills became everything to Sarah and they eventually took her life," said Shay, a dentist in Morehead. "Losing my daughter to prescription pills has left a hole in my heart that will never heal. By sharing Sarah's story and by raising awareness of the dangers of abusing prescription pills, I hope I can prevent this heartache for other families."
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, reaching nearly 7,000 students.
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.
General Conway is also working with Governor Beshear and House Speaker Stumbo on new initiatives to fight the prescription pill epidemic. This includes legislation that would transfer the operation of KASPER to the Attorney General's office and make its use mandatory for all prescribers.
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 two have also worked closely to stop the flow of illegal prescription pills from Florida into Kentucky.
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.