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Frankfort Local News

Beshear Predicts Prescription Pill Bill Will Pass in Strong Form

Supporters of a bill that would put more restrictions on prescription pills say they believe the measure will pass soon, despite increased lobbying efforts by doctors to weaken the bill. The bill would move the KASPER prescription tracking system to the Attorney General’s office and strengthen restrictions on pain clinics.

Kentucky lawmakers were unable to pass a compromise version of House Bill 4 before leaving for a veto recess. When they return, they’ll have one day to pass the bill.

The Kentucky Medical Association has spent the past ten days lobbying against the bill, saying increased restrictions on pain clinics and drug prescribing would hurt legitimate doctors.

But supporters, including Governor Steve Beshear, are dismissing that argument.

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Frankfort Local News

Stumbo Says Drug Bills, On-Time Budgets Will Be Highlights of 2012 Session

As the 2012 legislative session winds down, lawmakers aren’t touting a long list of accomplishments.

They say that’s not due to a lack of work, but mainly a lack of extra money to fund new programs or expand others.

Instead, House Speaker Greg Stumbo says the main highlights will be a three-bill attack on Kentucky’s drug abuse problems and passing general and road budgets before the end of the session.

In recent years, lawmakers haven’t even been able to pass budgets on time. So Stumbo says this year is a return to normal.

“I’m hoping we’ve returned to some semblance of normalcy. I’ll reverse judgment as a hope you will until the final seconds tick off,” he said.

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Local News Politics

Officials Urge Passage of Prescription Drug Legislation

From Brenna Angel, Kentucky Public Radio

Governor Steve Beshear and other state officials are touting a legislative proposal that focuses on fighting prescription drug abuse. House Speaker Greg Stumbo filed House Bill 4 last week calling for tougher restrictions on pain management clinics and better use of the state’s prescription monitoring system, and other lawmakers have filed similar bills.

Stumbo calls the issue a bi-partisan effort.

“It doesn’t matter whose name is on it, it matters what names it saves down the road, what lives it affects, and how it has a positive impact on this problem. And I believe that it will.”

A recovering drug addict also spoke at a Monday press conference on the legislation. Crystal says she got hooked on pain killers while working as a nurse.

“Any step to prevent more overdoses. I have lots of friends that have died from this, and I’m very fortunate that I had somewhere to go.”

Officials say they are confident the prescription drug proposals can pass both the House and Senate, despite the General Assembly also dealing with the state budget and legislative redistricting.

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Local News

Prescription Painkiller Highway

We spoke with Courier-Journal writer Laura Ungar Friday on State of the News about her ambitious series of articles on the prescription drug problem in Kentucky, fueled largely by loosely-regulated “rogue” pain clinics in Florida.

New regulations enacted in Florida this year are making a dent, but the scope, and toll, or the problem are devastating. Deaths due to prescription pill abuse in Kentucky have more than doubled in the past decade to nearly 1,000 a year, surpassing even traffic fatalities.

Ungar talked about it with WFPL’s Rick Howlett.

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Here and Now Uncategorized

Food Truck Regulations, Louisville Orchestra Impasse, Prescription Drug Smuggling, the Governor’s Race and More: Today on State of the News

1:06pm: We’ll talk about recent developments in the Louisville Metro, including JCPS student assignment, the Louisville Orchestra, and two men currently trapped in a surface mine in Ohio County.

1:30pm: WFPL’s Phillip M. Bailey and cn|2‘s Kenny Colston analyze the Kentucky governor’s race.

1:40pm: The latest food truck regulations have operators angry and patrons confused. We’ll talk about the regulations and what they mean for Louisville’s burgeoning food truck scene with Phillip M. Bailey and LEO Weekly’s Joe Sonka.

1:50pm: Laura Ungar joins us from the Courier-Journal to talk about the latest in her extended coverage of prescription drug abuse.

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Local News Politics

State Leaders Call For Better Tracking Of Prescription Drugs

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.

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Local News Politics

Drug Czar Says Kasper Isn’t Enough to Fight Drug Abuse

by Dan Conti, Kentucky Public Radio

Kentucky’s system for tracking prescription drug sales is “forward leaning” but it’s not enough to curb abuse. That’s according to U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske.

Speaking to the Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, Kerlikowske said the system, known as KASPER, and similar initiatives in other states work well, but they need to work together.

“During our four day trip to eastern Kentucky and West Virginia, we learned that doctors had to access multiple systems: those in Ohio, those in West Virginia, those in Kentucky. When it came to checking on patients and making sure they weren’t over prescribing for patients who were, in fact, seeing other physicians,” he said.

Kerlikowske says an electronic monitoring system that includes data from every state would better prevent doctor shopping, where patients cross state lines and obtain prescription drugs from multiple doctors.

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Local News

Special Edition of On Point Live at 10 AM

At 10:00 am this morning, WFPL News will broadcast On Point live. The topic of the hour is prescription drug abuse, which is a major problem in Kentucky. The White House drug czar has called Kentucky “ground zero” for the problem.

The Courier-Journal‘s Laura Ungar–who wrote the Prescription for Tragedy series–will appear on the show, along with Charleston Gazette reporter Alison Knezevich, Saint Petersburg Times and Miami Herald reporter Janet Zink and Regina Labelle, who is with the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The reporters represent major legs of the so-called pill pipeline, which begins in Florida and heads north toward Kentucky.

We’re airing this hour live because we’re committed to covering local and regional news, and providing a forum for you to take part in important discussions like this.

You can call 1-800-423-8255 during the show to discus the topic.

The Diane Rehm Show will air at 11am this morning.

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Local News

Programming Note: On Point to Discuss Prescription Drug Abuse Thursday at 10

At 10:00 am Thursday, WFPL will broadcast On Point live. The topic of the hour is prescription drug abuse, which is a major problem in Kentucky. The early broadcast will give Louisville-area listeners a chance to discuss the topic on air.

The Courier-Journal‘s Laura Ungar–who wrote the Prescription for Tragedy series–will appear on the show, along with Charleston Gazette reporter Alison Knezevich, Saint Petersburg Times and Miami Herald reporter Janet Zink and Regina Labelle, who is with the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The reporters represent major legs of the so-called pill pipeline, which begins in Florida and heads north toward Kentucky.

On Point will be broadcast live from Boston at 10, and you can call 1-800-423-8255 during the show to discus the topic.

The Diane Rehm show airs one hour later at 11am.

Categories
Local News Politics

Ohio Governor Joins Beshear Against Prescription Drug Abuse

by Dan Conti, Kentucky Public Radio

Ohio Governor John Kasich says he’ll be meeting with Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear on Tuesday to talk about ways the two states can join forces to fight prescription drug abuse.

“We’re going to work with the governor of Kentucky, the governor of West Virginia (and) I’ve already talked to the governor of Florida. Winning the battle against opiates, which destroys so many of our families, has to be won,” he says.

The Kasich administration has already committed to putting more money and resources into the effort, particularly in Scioto County, which is considered one of the worst places in Ohio for prescription pill abuse.