Top Kentucky health leaders and lawmakers trying to end multistate prescription drug trafficking and abuse are meeting in Florida this week. The National R-X Drug Abuse Summit runs from tomorrow until Thursday in Orlando. The event is organized by the eastern Kentucky anti-drug group Operation UNITE. It will feature remarks by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin and U.S. “Drug Czar” R.
Confusion and last-minute lobbying have potentially derailed what some Kentucky lawmakers considered the hallmark of the current legislative session.
House Bill 4 is better known as the prescription pill bill. It's centerpiece is the transfer of the KASPER drug tracking system to the attorney generals office.
Late last week, it appeared lawmakers had struck a last-minute deal to pass the bill before this week's recess. But confusion about which amended version of HB4 was up for a vote mired them in procedural minutiae.
The Governor’s office announced Tuesday that Kentucky will sign an agreement with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy to join the InterConnect, a network of prescription monitoring programs across the country. The Commonwealth joins 20 other states taking part in the InterConnect.
“Indiana, Ohio, and Virginia are up and running and sharing, and West Virginia is very soon to come on board. Which means that four of border states, hopefully we’ll be sharing data with very soon.”
Illinois lawmakers looking for ways to cut expenses in the state’s Medicaid program may consider the big-ticket cost of prescription drugs as a tempting target. Prescriptions cost the Illinois Medicaid program more than $1 billion a year. Medicaid covers drugs for a wide variety of illnesses, from asthma to schizophrenia, for the poor and disabled. Legislators are looking at other states for ideas. Tennessee, for example, limits adults to five prescriptions each month.
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Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway says a recent report puts the commonwealth as the fourth most medicated state in the country. Conway appeared with three other guests on KET’s Kentucky Tonight. The discussion centered on what’s been called a pain pill epidemic across the state.
“We are losing more people to prescription pill overdoses than car accidents and you know what, we think that’s under reported because only about half of overdoses make it to the coroner, state medical examiner’s office where we get these statistics."
While the Kentucky General Assembly considers legislation aimed at reducing the state’s prescription drug epidemic, Attorney General Jack Conway is taking his message about painkillers to Washington. Conway testified Thursday before a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He asked for federal help in creating a nationwide prescription monitoring system.