Frankfort Local News

Stumbo Introduces Bill to Crack Down On Pill Clinics

A bill to crack down on illegal pain clinics has been introduced in the Kentucky House.

Governor Steve Beshear, Attorney General Jack Conway and House Speaker Greg Stumbo, all Democrats, collaborated on the bill.

It would transfer the operation of KASPER, a statewide pill tracking system, to the Attorney General’s office. It would also require all doctors practicing in Kentucky to use the system.

Law enforcement, nurses and doctors would have direct access to KASPER data, under the measure. It would also allow information from KASPER to be included in medical files.

Stumbo says the goal is to eliminate the commonwealth’s prescription pain drug epidemic.

“What we’re trying to do is strike at the heart of the problem and that is the doctors that overprescribe,” Stumbo says. “And the patients who try to manipulate the system and get more prescriptions because what they with those prescriptions is sell ‘em. They end up on the black market.”

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.

Local News Politics

Florida Governor Reverses on Prescription Tracking Program

Florida Governor Rick Scott says he will support a compromise to implement a prescription pill tracking system in his state.

Scott originally sought to block a prescription database from being used, citing privacy concerns. The system is meant to stop illegal prescription sales. Because Floridian pill mills are a major supplier of prescription drugs abused in Kentucky and elsewhere, Scott came under fire from numerous state and federal officials to let the program take effect. Instead, Scott proposed using a grant from the federal government to create a law enforcement task force to fight the prescription problem.

Local News Politics

Conway Joins Calls Against Florida Prescription Tracking Cut

Attorney General Jack Conway is the latest Kentucky official to ask Florida Governor Rick Scott not to cut a not-yet-implemented prescription pill tracking system.

The program is similar to the KASPER system in Kentucky, which Conway and others say has helped stop pill mills from distributing prescription drugs in the commonwealth. It’s believed that many of the prescriptions abused in Kentucky come from Florida. Governor Steve Beshear, Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo, Congressman Hal Rogers and U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske have all encouraged Scott to reconsider cutting the program. In his latest monthly column, Conway joined the call:

“The bottom line is that we need to stop illicit prescription pills at their source; states like Florida and Georgia that do not have prescription drug monitoring programs in place. Programs like Kentucky’s KASPER system are needed, warranted and must be implemented in all 50 states. Until that happens, prescription drug abuse will continue to ravage our families and our kid,” he wrote.