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Kentucky Officials Plan Legislation to Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse

by Brenna Angel, Kentucky Public RadioThere is still a lot of work to do, but the Florida Attorney General says the “pill pipeline” between her state and Kentucky has been significantly reduced thanks to tougher regulations and the launch of a prescription monitoring program. Pam Bondi spoke in Lexington today at a conference on prescription drug abuse.“We’ve been going around the state training law enforcement in what to look for in these drug cases, and you wouldn’t believe the number of doctors and nurses who are showing up to our training sessions,” she said. “So there are so many responsible doctors and dentists who want to know what to look for and want to do the right thing.”Of the top 100 prescribers of oxycodone across the country, 98 of them were in Florida, but Bondi says that number is now down to 11.Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway also spoke at the conference. He announced that a package of legislation placing new restrictions on pain management clinics will be filed by House Speaker Greg Stumbo next week. The plan focuses on pain management clinics and KASPER, the state’s prescription monitoring program.“If you’re a doc that’s writing a significant amount of prescriptions, of schedule 2 and 3 narcotics, you’re going to be required to register with KASPER,” Conway said. “The Speaker feels strongly that KASPER ought to be moved to my office. I have said if the resources are transferred, we’d be willing to take it and try to make it work.”Currently less than a third of prescribers in Kentucky use KASPER, which can help spot doctor-shopping pill addicts.Senator Jimmy Higdon has already filed a bill that would require pain clinics to be licensed and owned by physicians or hospitals. Conway says he supports that measure and wants it to be incorporated into the larger prescription drug package.

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