Prescription drug abuse is an ongoing problem in Kentucky’s mines but recent steps taken by the state legislature are helping get control of it. That’s what a member of the state mine safety review commission told the senate judiciary committee this week. Paducah attorney Duncan Pitchford says miners in the western Kentucky coalfields are also struggling with methamphetamine addictions.
“It’s an unfortunate thing that we have to deal with but the legislation that the general assembly passed to encourage mine operators to test for use of substances has had an impact in improving safety for all those that work in mines in the Commonwealth.”
Kentucky began drug screening miners in 2006 and more than 15-hundred have tested positive since then. The bluegrass state led the nation in coal mining deaths in 2011 with eight.