Prescription drug proposals get backing of top officials and those who have been in pills' grip

02/06/2012 05:16 PM

The governor, attorney general and lawmakers from both parties on Monday underscored their support for and Kentucky’s need for a series of reforms to drug monitoring and preventing prescription pill abuse.

The press conference also featured a former nurse, Crystal Copley of Louisville, who explained how she easily got access to prescription drugs — and how some of the proposed reforms might prevent others from going down the same road.

House Bill 4 (H.B. 4), sponsored by Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo, would expand the reach of the prescription tracking system, known as KASPER — or the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting system. It would require all prescription providers to register and use the system.

The bill also creates new standards for information sharing among medical licensure boards and law enforcement investigators. They will be responsible for regularly reviewing KASPER reports and data to root out unusually high prescribing rates for further investigation.

Senate Bill 42, sponsored by Republican Sen. Jimmy Higdon of Lebanon, focuses on pain management clinics. The bill requires that these facilities be owned by a physician and properly licensed. S.B. 42 also creates new rules for who can work at pain management clinics and offers clear regulations related to quality management and inspection.

Senator Higdon said the bills are about protecting Kentucky families.

Attorney General Jack Conway, whose office would assume new duties of monitoring KASPER data, says the that the time for action is now.

Gov. Steve Beshear also said these reforms will be a priority for him. He urged the legislature to pass the bills this session so law enforcement can ratchet up its fight against the prescription pill problem in Kentucky.

Beshear and other legislators acknowledge that the passage of these bills won’t be a total fix of the problem. But, it would be a good start to attacking a problem which is bring destruction to numerous families in the state.


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