Office of the Attorney General
Governor Beshear, Attorney General Conway and DEA Urge Kentuckians to Participate in Prescription Drug "Take-Back" Day
Gov. Steve Beshear, Attorney General Jack Conway and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) urge Kentuckians to take part in a prescription drug “Take-Back” day on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010 from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. local time to help prevent increased prescription drug abuse and theft. This marks the first-ever nationwide prescription drug “Take-Back” day with collection sites in local communities across the country. More than 60 prescription drug collection sites have been designated across the Commonwealth as part of this initiative.
“Prescription drug abuse is a preventable condition that nonetheless devastates our families and communities — physically, socially and financially. According to the National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health, more than 56 percent of people 12 or older who abused prescription drugs in the past year obtained them from family or friends,” said Gov. Beshear. “Families can take an easy step toward prevention by regularly disposing of unneeded or old prescription medications.”
Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are increasing at an alarming rate, particularly among youth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five teenagers today have used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes. That’s up from one in ten three years ago.
“With easy access to prescription drugs, teenagers today are becoming drug addicts in their own homes,” said General Conway, whose Prestonsburg office will be used as a collection site. “By monitoring the prescription pills in your home and taking advantage of the upcoming free ‘Take-Back’ sites, we can reduce the threat these drugs can pose to our families and particularly Kentucky kids.”
The “Take-Back” initiative is a collaborative effort between local, state and federal law enforcement and government agencies to prevent increased prescription drug abuse and theft by collecting potentially dangerous expired, unused or unwanted medications for destruction. Collection sites can be found by going to
http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/ . The service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked.
“Kentucky is one of the states that has been hit the hardest by prescription drug abuse, “said Robert L. Corso, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Detroit Field Division including Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky. “This effort represents DEA’s commitment to halting the dramatic rise of prescription drug abuse over the past decade. By working with our state and local partners, we can provide the concerned residents of Kentucky a venue to safely and legally eliminate a major source of pills that have the potential to be abused.”
More than 3,600 prescription drug collection sites have been designated nationwide for Saturday’s “Take-Back” day.
Attorney General Conway’s Drug Diversion Efforts
In addition to his participation in the “Take-Back” initiative, General Conway has joined with the Kentucky Justice Cabinet, Kentucky Pharmacists Association, National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI), Operation Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education (UNITE) and concerned parents to launch a statewide prescription drug abuse education and prevention initiative. It includes school presentations to alert Kentucky middle and high school students to the dangers of using prescription drugs for recreational purposes, a video PSA contest for both high school and middle school students and informational posters to be distributed to pharmacies across Kentucky.
The Office of the Attorney General has also produced a video with two mothers from Morehead, Ky, Dr. Karen Shay and Lynn Kissick, who lost daughters to prescription drug overdoses. The video is available for viewing on the Attorney General’s prescription drug abuse page at http://ag.ky.gov/rxabuse.htm . The video is also shown during school presentations.
In 2009, Attorney General Conway launched Kentucky’s first and only statewide prescription drug abuse task force to combat prescription drug trafficking, overprescribing physicians, doctor shopping and illegal out-of-state pharmacies.
OAG investigators have also worked closely with the Appalachian High Intensity Drug Traffic Area (HIDTA) task force, U.S Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting (KASPER) system, administered by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, to track controlled substance prescriptions dispensed within the state.
Since January 2008, General Conway’s Drug Investigations Branch has opened 365 cases, made 118 arrests, seized nearly 4,400 prescription pills and participated in a dozen drug round-ups including the largest drug sweep in Kentucky history.