by Brenna Angel, Kentucky Public Radio
Governor Steve Beshear says more outpatient treatment programs are necessary to help eliminate Kentucky’s growing prescription drug abuse problem. Beshear joined prosecutors, police officers, and medical professionals today at the University of Kentucky for a statewide summit on prescription drug abuse.
“You know you’re not going to be 100 percent successful but good, effective treatment programs do work and people do recover from these kinds of addictions and they can become productive adults,” Beshear said.
Floyd County Commonwealth’s Attorney Brent Turner also spoke at the summit. He says he’s seeing a rise in armed robberies, fatal drug overdoses, and even the sale of urine for people taking drug tests.
“We have police in our area and road units and troopers that have become so used to looking up people’s noses to see what color of pill residue they have sticking out of their nose that they can almost tell you ‘well that’s blue so that’s Xanax and that’s pink so that’s Lorcet and that’s green and that’s whatever,’” Turner said. “Because that’s all people are doing.”
Turner says the pain pills are destroying Kentucky.
In his proposed budget, Beshear wants to fund substance abuse treatment through the Medicaid program, which he says could reach about 5800 people. Beshear says he recognizes that the problem is much larger than that, but says it’s a start.