Attorney General Conway hosts prescription drug abuse prevention programs in Bullitt/Marion Counties | News
From Shelley Catherine Johnson, Kentucky Office of the Attorney General
FRANKFORT, KY – Attorney General Jack Conway and his Keep Kentucky Kids Safe partners alerted thousands of middle and high school students in Bullitt and Marion counties Thursday to the dangers of abusing prescription drugs.
“Just because prescription medications come from a doctor, doesn’t mean they are safe,” General Conway said. “It is never okay to take a pill that is not prescribed to you by a doctor. If taken in the wrong combination or mixed with other substances, prescription medications can be deadly.”
General Conway hosted his Keep Kentucky Kids Safe prescription drug abuse awareness program at North Bullitt High School, which included students from nearby Hebron Middle School, and Marion County High School, where the program was broadcast district wide. Joining General Conway in Marion County were State Representative Terry Mills and Senator Jimmy Higdon.
“I appreciate the active role Attorney General Conway has taken in addressing the illegal use of prescription drugs in Kentucky,” said Sen. Higdon, who led efforts in the Senate to win passage of House Bill 1. “There has been a great deal of effort and collaboration, regardless of political party, to put forth legislation that helps us fight the epidemic of prescription drug abuse in the Commonwealth.”
Representative Terry Mills told students at Marion County High School that prescription drug abuse is the biggest problem facing Kentucky today.
“If we can make inroads into reducing prescription drug abuse, we can make Kentucky a better place to live,” said Mills. “We will not only save lives, we will help save communities whose resources are being drained by the far reaching effects of prescription drug diversion and abuse.”
General Conway launched the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe initiative in 2010 with the Kentucky Justice Cabinet and its Office of Drug Control Policy, Kentucky Pharmacists Association, National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI), Operation UNITE and concerned parents like Dr. Karen Shay, a Morehead dentist whose daughter, Sarah, died of a prescription drug overdose in 2006.
“Losing my daughter to prescription pills has left a hole in my heart that will never heal,” said Shay. “By traveling the state with General Conway and sharing Sarah’s story through the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program, I hope I can prevent this heartache for other families.”
Since its launch, Attorney General Conway and his partners have alerted more than 15,000 students to the dangers of prescription drug abuse in nearly two dozen schools across Kentucky.
“People often think that access to drugs comes from outside the home,” said District Safe Schools Coordinator Jaime Goldsmith. “There is a real problem with teenagers accessing their parents’ medicine cabinet. We appreciate the increased awareness General Conway is bringing to this issue through his Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program.”
Prescription Drug Diversion Efforts
Attorney General Conway worked closely with Governor Beshear, House Speaker Stumbo and other lawmakers to win passage of landmark legislation in 2012 to prevent the abuse and diversion of prescription pills in the Commonwealth.
In addition to his education and awareness efforts, Attorney General Conway launched Kentucky’s first and only statewide Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force in August of 2009. The task force has been involved in more than 430 prescription drug diversion investigations, including Operation Flamingo Road, the state’s largest prescription drug bust that resulted in the arrest of more than 500 people.
In addition to the work being done here in the Commonwealth, Attorney General Conway reached across party lines to work closely with Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi to ensure that her state implemented an electronic prescription drug monitoring system similar to Kentucky’s KASPER system. The two have also worked closely to stop the flow of illegal prescription pills from Florida into Kentucky.
The Attorney General’s office is also a member of the Interstate Prescription Drug Task Force that is working with neighboring states, like Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia, to shut down the prescription drug pipeline into Kentucky.
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