Several Kentucky Bills Target Prescription Drug Abuse

Legislative leaders and Gov. Steve Beshear offered their support Feb. 6 of bills to expand KASPER –- the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting system –- and to strengthen oversight of pain management clinics.

Legislators in Kentucky's General Assembly soon will take up several bills aimed at curbing prescription drug abuse in the state. Gov. Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway joined several legislative leaders, including House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers, on Feb. 6 to state their support of the package, which includes bills sponsored by multiple legislators, according to the governor's office.

They include:

  • House Bill 4, sponsored by Stumbo, which would require all prescription providers to register and use the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting (KASPER). It also would set new standards for information-sharing among licensure boards and investigators and require regular data review of KASPER reports to identify unusually high prescribing rates. "Prescription drug abuse has long been a problem here in Kentucky, but in recent years it has reached epidemic proportions. House Bill 4 goes to the heart of the epidemic by giving law enforcement more tools to pinpoint the sources of the illegal drugs and stop them," said Stumbo. "It also calls on the medical licensure boards to do their part to make sure that doctors abusing their privileges are stopped as well. This legislation provides a multi-pronged approach across all three branches of government, and it transcends politics. It is the most important thing we can do to protect Kentucky families."
  • Senate Bill 42, sponsored by Sen. Jimmy Higdon, would require that pain management clinics be owned by a physician and properly licensed. The bill would set new rules for who can work at pain management clinics and clear regulations related to quality management and inspection.

"The epidemic that is prescription drug abuse in Kentucky is not just an addiction problem, it is a systemic problem that jeopardizes economic stability, destroys families, and ruins lives," said Stivers. "It is incumbent that we, as lawmakers, ensure any dangerous controlled substances are administered for legitimate purposes and in reasonable amounts."

"Battling the scourge of prescription drug abuse requires dynamic, nimble policies and coordination of efforts, from law enforcement to recovery centers, from computer assisted investigations to citizen tipsters," said Beshear. "The legislation under consideration in the General Assembly will allow us to better coordinate our efforts for a safer Kentucky."

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