Jack Conway says he wants to see prescription pill tracking in every state

09/22/2010 06:07 PM

LOUISVILLE — Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Jack Conway pledged to a group of law enforcement agents, drug counselors and recovering addicts that he would push for the creation of a network of prescription pill tracking systems in every state if elected to the U.S. Senate this fall.

Conway visited The Healing Place, a non-profit rehabilitation clinic in Louisville, to talk with those who have suffered from drug addiction, as well as law enforcement officials and counselors. to discuss solutions as well as learn more about the drug problem in Kentucky. Conway previously held drug roundtables with local officials in Wolfe County, Lexington and Erlanger.

Conway said the effectiveness of Kentucky’s computerized prescription tracking system, named KASPER, was reduced or nullified if other states don’t have the same level of scrutiny. The KASPER system allows law enforcement, as well as doctors, to pull records of prescriptions that have been filled for individuals.

The hour and a half round table included personal testimony from former drug users currently working at or staying at the Healing Place, which allows individuals to stay for up to two years.

Counselors at the facility also pressed upon Conway the need for more education and more rehab facilities, not prison cells, in order to combat the state’s drug problem.

Residents told Conway about their struggles with substances, including alcohol and prescription pills.

Many of the former users explained to Conway how easy it was to get the drugs — from doctors, pharmacies and dealers. Law enforcement officials said there weren’t enough resources to quash the problem.

Conway, who is also the state’s attorney general, didn’t take much time explaining his thoughts on the issue. Instead, he spent much of the time asking questions.

But he did say that he was learning more about the issue at every stop, including how to curb the problem faster and what organizations need to be more involved in the process.

Conway has focused on the drug issue since his opponent, Republican Rand Paul, told the Associated Press this summer that he didn’t think the state’s drug problem was “not real pressing issue” for voters this fall. Paul’s campaign has maintained he was quoted out of context. Paul favors dealing with the drug problem with local resources.

Conway’s roundtable came on the same day that another prominent Kentucky official, Republican Congressman Hal Rogers of Somerset, announced $1 million in federal funding for drug abuse counseling at schools through Operation UNITE. That program coordinates law enforcement agencies for drug busts, helps with treatment and education.

Rogers announced the funding for multi-school counseling as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services budget bill.

Paul and Rogers haven’t seen eye-to-eye about the use of federal funds for such programs.

-Reporting and videos produced by Kenny Colston


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.