Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo's Communications Office
Lt. Governor Mongiardo, US Drug Czar Discuss Pill Epidemic in Eastern Kentucky

Press Release Date:  Friday, February 25, 2011  
Contact Information:  Valeria Cummings
Bill Burger

PIKEVILLE, Ky. — Lt. Governor Daniel Mongiardo and U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske had an informative discussion about the growing prescription pill problem in Eastern Kentucky during Kerlikowske’s visit to Kentucky.

The Lt. Governor, who is a surgeon, has been a strong proponent of Kentucky’s prescription pill monitoring program known as KASPER, as well as groups like, Operation UNITE, that continually fight illegal drug activity. Most recently, the Lt. Governor has been a strong voice in opposition to Florida Governor Rick Scott’s decision to eliminate that state’s prescription drug tracking database aimed at curbing the misuse of addictive prescription drugs.

The Lt. Governor and Mr. Kerlikowske discussed what has become known as the prescription pill pipeline and Wednesday’s arrest of 20 people in Florida in what U.S. Drug Enforcement agents call illegal pill mills that were dispensing huge amounts of powerful prescription drugs across the nation.

“I just wanted Mr. Kerlikowske to understand the deadly impact pills flowing from these pain clinics in Florida are having on our people,” said Mongiardo. “People are dying and it’s taking a toll on Kentucky families, on our economy and our future. I’m glad Mr. Kerlikowske is here to see first hand what we’re talking about.”

Mr. Kerlikowske has been traveling across Kentucky talking with those who work directly with the drug problem. He has been to drug treatment centers, talked with law enforcement agents, judges and drug offenders, all to get a better picture of the toll drugs are taking on parts of our state.

“Our nation’s prescription drug epidemic stretches across borders and requires a collaborative response from all of us,” said Mr. Kerlikowske. “The proliferation of rogue ‘pill mill’ operations has caused massive harm to citizens in Kentucky and across our nation. Wednesday’s arrest in Florida not only begins the process of bringing to justice those who have broken the law, but also reinforces the enduring efforts of drug treatment providers and community leaders in Kentucky who are working each day to rescue and protect our citizens from the destruction of prescription drug abuse.”

Kerlikowske says the Obama administration believes the solution to this growing epidemic begins with state and local agencies working together. Kerlikowske says Kentucky is a model in this regard with groups across the state working in synergy to reduce and prevent substance abuse.