The Kentucky House of Representatives passed House Bill 1, which provides a comprehensive and systematic plan for decreasing prescription drug abuse. The primary goals of this bill is to allow law enforcement to identify doctors who are overprescribing schedule II and schedule III drugs, individuals dealing prescription drugs, and addicts (Martin, 2012).
It will transfer the jurisdiction of the state wide prescription database, KASPER, from the department of Health and Family Services to the District Attorney’s jurisdiction. This would allow law enforcement officers and commonwealth attorneys to use KASPER if they were conducting an investigation. Furthermore, doctors would be required to check in on patients’ prescription use through KASPER. In a 2010 survey, 90% of doctors who used KASPER reported altering their decision about giving a drug that could potentially lead to abuse or addiction based upon the results found on KASPER (Ky. Passes Drug Abuse Bill, 2012).
Another aspect of the bill requires Medicaid to keep track of their doctors’ prescription practices. Additionally, coroners would be required to report prescription overdoses to state authorities in an attempt to gather more accurate statistics (Ky. Passes Drug Abuse Bill, 2012).
Prescription drug abuse is common; those individuals whom participate in it are diverse. In The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia, Derek White says, “You wanna hear the Boone County mating call?” He shakes a prescription bottle and smirks, “Come and get it baby” (Nitzberg, 2010). Meanwhile, at a prestigious university, I knew a plutocrat’s son buying Vicodin from other students. Every day, thirty minutes before he got out of bed, he’d take double the amount of Vyvanse prescribed to him. In order to maintain his habit, he was going to two psychiatrists that both prescribed him a large dose for his ADHD.
Between 2000 and 2010, prescription pain killer use has dramatically increased. In certain states, oxycodone (active ingredient in OxyContin, Percocet, and Percodan) distribution was sixteen times higher (Associated Press, 2012). Overall between 1999 and 2011 opioid pain reliever sales have increased by 300% (Cassels, 2011). While the areas receiving the most oxycodone were coal mining areas (eastern Kentucky and West Virginia) in 2000, by 2010 they were Kentucky and Tennessee (Associated Press, 2012). Kentucky had a 171% increase in Oxycodone sales and a 176% increase in Hydrocodone sales between 2000 and 2010 (Laidlaw, 2012). Nationwide, the CDC reports a 90% increase in poisonings of fifteen to nineteen year olds, which they attribute to prescription drug abuse (Hastings, 2012). Furthermore, in 2011, the CDC reported that more people die from opioid prescription pain killer overdoses than from cocaine and heroin combined (Cassels, 2011).
The bill has yet to go through the Kentucky State Senate and faces major opposition there. The Kentucky Medical Association questions the bill’s ethicalness, considering it an “overreach” and a breach of patients’ confidentiality and privacy (Martin, 2012).
While 48 states have programs that monitor drug prescription and distribution, this bill would be the first motion transferring it into the hands of the District Attorney’s office (Martin, 2012).
Associated Press. (2012, April 5). Soaring Sales of Prescription Drugs Fuel Fears of Addiction. Retrieved April 20, 2012, from NPR: http://www.npr.org/2012/04/05/150070840/soaring-painkiller-sales-fuel-fears-of-addiction
Cassels, C. (2011, November 1). More Deaths From Opioids Than Cocaine, Heroin Combined. Retrieved April 20, 2012, from MedScape: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/752700
Hastings, R. (2012, April 20). Teen Deaths Related to Prescription Drug Abuse Skyrocket. Retrieved 20 2012, April, from Ridgefield Patch: http://ridgefield.patch.com/articles/teen-death-s-related-to-prescription-drug-abuse-skyrocket
Ky. Passes Drug Abuse Bill. (2012, April 19). Retrieved April 20, 2012, from Hazard-Herald: http://hazard-herald.com/view/full_story/18279210/article-Ky–House-approves-drug-abuse-bill
Laidlaw, C. (2012, April 5). Across American, the Grip of Painkillers Tightens. Retrieved April 20, 2012, from NPR: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/04/05/150055854/across-america-the-grip-of-prescription-painkillers-tightens
Martin, T. W. (2012, April 19). Police, Pill Mills, and Privacy. Retrieved April 20, 2012, from The Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304331204577354250292963124.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
Nitzberg, J. (Director). (2010). The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia [Motion Picture].
Filed under: Addiction, Alcohol and Drugs, Conditions and Disorders, Featured · Tags: ADD, addicts, ADHD, and Percodan, cocaine, Drug Abuse, Heroin, Opioid, overdoses, oxycontin, percocet, prescription drugs, schedule II and schedule III drugs, Vyvanse