From Brenna Angel, Kentucky Public Radio
As Kentucky works with neighboring states and federal authorities to tackle prescription drug abuse, three state government leaders say there are improvements that also need to be made within the Commonwealth. At a press conference in Lexington this morning, Governor Steve Beshear, Attorney General Jack Conway, and House Speaker Greg Stumbo announced initiatives to crack down on physicians who over-prescribe pain killers.
“Let me remind you that a pill mill is nothing more than a doctor’s office. That’s all it is. And so when you say ‘well we’re going to stop pill mills,’ then you have to recognize that those are doctors that are prescribing those narcotics,” Stumbo said.
Stumbo says he plans to work with lawmakers during the upcoming legislative session to better regulate who can own and operate pain clinics in the state and to require that all prescribers use KASPER, Kentucky’s prescription monitoring program. Currently only about 25 percent of physicians and pharmacists have a KASPER account, which can be used to check if patients are “doctor shopping.” According to a report from the Kentucky Department for Public Health, prescription drug overdoses claim more lives in Kentucky than car crashes.