Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Warns Students in Union County about the Dangers of Abusing Prescription Drugs
Attorney General Jack Conway took his Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program to Union County High School today, alerting nearly 800 students to the dangers of taking prescription pills that are not prescribed to them.
"Taken in the wrong combination or mixed with other substances, prescription pills can kill you," General Conway warned. "These are some of the most addictive substances on the planet and they are responsible for more deaths in Kentucky than traffic accidents."
According to an analysis by Forbes Magazine, Kentucky is the fourth most-medicated state in the country. Treatment for opioid, or prescription pain-killer, abuse soared 900 percent from 1999 to 2008 and data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows that nearly one-third of people aged 12 and over who used drugs for the first time in 2009 began by using a prescription drug non-medically.
"We appreciate Attorney General Conway bringing this powerful message about the dangers of prescription drug abuse to our students," said Malinda Beauchamp, Director of Public Relations for Union County Schools. "This is a serious issue that affects the lives and futures of students in Union County and across the Commonwealth."
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.
"Prescription pills became everything to my daughter and ultimately they took her life," said Shay, a dentist in Morehead, whose daughter, Sarah, died of an overdose of Methadone in 2006. "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."
The Keep Kentucky Kids Safe partners have visited middle and high schools across Kentucky, reaching nearly 10,000 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.
Earlier this month, Attorney General Conway testified before a Congressional subcommittee about Kentucky's efforts to fight prescription drug abuse. He also testified about pending prescription drug legislation in the Commonwealth that he introduced with Governor Beshear and House Speaker Stumbo.
House Bill 4 would give law enforcement increased access to prescription drug monitoring data and would make the use of Kentucky's KASPER system mandatory for all prescribers.
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.
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.