Bill to Crack Down on Prescription Drug Abuse Stirs Debate in Kentucky

A bill that aims to curb prescription drug abuse in Kentucky is stirring debate among politicians, physicians and law enforcement officials, The Wall Street Journal reports.

More than 1,000 people die from prescription drug overdoses in the state each year, the article notes.

The state Senate is considering a vote on a bill that would require that all pain clinics be licensed, specify requirements for ownership and employment, and oblige Kentucky’s licensure board to develop regulations for pain clinics. The bill would give law enforcement easier access to the state’s prescription drug monitoring database. Law enforcement officials say the law would help them identify people who are abusing prescription drugs, as well as dealers and doctors who help patients stock supplies of painkillers.

The Kentucky Medical Association opposes the bill, arguing it is a violation of personal privacy. “You are essentially legislating medical care. We think doctors should write those regulations, not legislatures,” said Shawn Jones, the group’s president.

The debate in Kentucky highlights the fact that unlike the supply chain for illicit drugs, those who supply prescription drugs are largely legitimate businesses and professionals. Physician and pharmacy trade groups also have opposed similar legislation in Ohio, West Virginia, Florida and other states, according to the newspaper.

Last month, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear announced the state would sign an agreement to share and receive prescription drug dispensing data with at least 20 other states. The move is designed to help the state monitor prescription drug abuse.

The Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting program (KASPER) will join the National Association of Board of Pharmacy’s Prescription Monitoring Program InterConnect (PMP InterConnect), a system that allows prescription drug abuse information to be shared across state lines.

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    dock sites

    March 11, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    This is all well and good for the ones who are abusing painkillers. The people that are truly hurting can’t get the medicine that they need because of these laws. The doctors are afraid to give them anything strong enough to ease their pain. They have worked hard all their lives and this is how they get treated. If the state would quit paying for all this for these addicts things might get better. I have worked 24 years in the coal mines have been bruised and banged up and had to have surgery on my back have had 2 strokes and its a shame this is how I have to be treated!

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    michelle smith

    May 3, 2012 at 7:56 AM

    As a volunteer for a group who provides complimentary educational material on substance abuse, I recall what a difficult time I had growing up with pressure of every day life struggles, it led me down the road of substance abuse when I was young.

    I hope someone else can get the help they need in this mission to make sure every person who is suffering with an addiction of ANY kind can get the resources that can save their life.
    Check out this article my group did on this very same subject, the truth is shocking.

    Keep the faith, anyone can get help they need.

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    tom mcnamara

    April 20, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    If medical associations would police their profession,there would be no need for this legislation.Instead they protect obvious criminal practice just as religious institutions protected deviancy by their clerical representatives.

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