Attorney General Conway testifies in front of Congressional Subcommittee |
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FRANKFORT, KY - Attorney General Jack Conway testified Thursday in front of a Congressional subcommittee about Kentucky’s efforts to fight prescription drug abuse. He also requested federal grant funding to help implement electronic prescription drug monitoring programs in every state and to upgrade software in states that have existing monitoring programs to ensure they can share data with each other.
“Three people in Kentucky and 100 people in the United States will die today of prescription drug overdoses,” General Conway said. “More people are dying in Kentucky from prescription drug overdoses than traffic accidents. This insipid addiction is killing our people and the time to act is now – before we lose another generation to prescription drug abuse.”
According to an analysis by Forbes, Kentucky is the fourth most-medicated state in the country. A study by the University of Kentucky shows that prescriptions for Schedule II and III narcotics are up in 118 of Kentucky’s 120 counties.
Attorney General Conway told lawmakers about his efforts to curb prescription drug abuse in Kentucky. In 2009, General Conway created Kentucky’s first statewide prescription drug task force that works with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to investigate cases of overprescribing physicians and doctor shopping. The task force participated in the largest drug bust in Kentucky history, Operation Flamingo Road. The investigation resulted in more than 500 indictments and helped halt some of the illegal drugs being shipped into Kentucky from Florida.
“At one point, law enforcement officers estimated that 60 percent of the pills being sold illegally in Kentucky came directly from Florida,” General Conway said. “I have worked in a bipartisan fashion to address this issue with my friend, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. I applaud her efforts to attack prescription pill abuse and ensure her state implemented electronic prescription drug monitoring “
General Conway and General Bondi informed the committee about how they’ve worked together to help stem the pipeline of prescription pills that were flowing into Kentucky from Florida. At one point, Florida was home to 97 of the nation’s top 100 prescribers of oxycodone. Today that number is down to 13.
“The key to tackling this issue that bleeds across state lines is for each state to implement prescription drug monitoring programs,” General Conway said.
Thirty seven states currently have programs in place. Another 11 states have legislation authorizing the creation of monitoring systems, but they are not yet operational. General Conway asked legislators to provide federal grants that would bring all states online with monitoring and provide funding to states with existing programs to update software so all of the databases can communicate with each other.
“Kentucky borders seven states. You can bet if our citizens are driving or flying to Florida to get their hands on pills, they are making their way to Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois,” General Conway testified.
Attorney General Conway also testified about pending prescription drug legislation in Kentucky, the need for law enforcement to have increased access to prescription drug monitoring data and his prescription drug education initiative. He has travelled across Kentucky educating almost 10,000 students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. He is joined is efforts by parents who’ve lost their children to prescription drug overdoses.
A photo of Attorney General Conway and Attorney General Bondi’s testimony and a transcript of his testimony are attached to this release.
(Source: Office of the Attorney General)
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