Tuesday, 03 25, 2014
Deputy Communications Director
General Jack Conway took his Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program to Scott and Anderson counties today, warning approximately 1,650 students about the dangers
of prescription drug abuse and heroin.
want Kentucky kids to know that these highly addictive drugs can kill them,”
Attorney General Conway said. “Kentuckians, young and old, are overdosing every
day on prescription painkillers and heroin.
Addiction is shattering families across the Commonwealth, and we are
doing all we can in the Office of the Attorney General to prevent it.”
Conway was joined today at the Scott County Ninth Grade School and Anderson
County High School by Van Ingram, executive director for the Kentucky Office of
Drug Control Policy, and Mike Donta, a concerned parent who lost his son after
a long battle with prescription drug abuse.
Since launching the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program in 2010 with the
Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, Kentucky Pharmacists Association,
National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI), Operation UNITE
and concerned parents, General Conway and his partners have alerted
approximately 40,000 students, teachers, and parents to the dangers of abusing
prescription drugs and heroin.
parent should have to endure the heartache of burying a child,” Donta told the
students. “If you choose to take prescription pills that aren’t prescribed to
you by a doctor, there’s a good chance you will end up just like my son.”
prescription painkillers are the leading cause of accidental death in the
United States. In 2012, there were about
220 million doses of the highly addictive painkiller hydrocodone dispensed in
Kentucky. Additionally, a report by the
nonprofit Trust for America’s Health lists Kentucky as having the third-highest
rate of fatal overdoses in the country – the vast majority from prescription
however, is rapidly replacing prescription painkillers as the drug of choice in
many parts of Kentucky because it is also an opiate, it’s cheaper to get, and
it mimics the same high people get from crushing and injecting opioid
painkillers. According to the Kentucky
Office of Drug Control Policy, statewide heroin overdose deaths increased by
650 percent in 2012. In December,
General Conway, along with Sen. Katie Stine and Rep. John Tilley, announced
bipartisan legislation created to stop this disturbing trend. The bill, which was introduced during the
2014 regular session of the Kentucky General Assembly, increases punishment for
heroin traffickers, promotes treatment for addicts, and increases public
awareness and education.
are very thankful to have Attorney General Conway, along with Mike Donta and
Van Ingram, visit our school and help us educate our students about the
real-life tragedies that can occur when illicit drugs are used,” said Dwayne
Ellison, principal at Scott County Ninth Grade School. “Peer pressure can be a
daily struggle for children, and positive role models are vital in order to
help them lead healthy and productive lives. I am glad that keeping our kids
safe is one of General Conway’s top priorities.”
students today are faced with a multitude of negative influences, including
substance abuse,” added Chris Glass, principal at Anderson County High
School. “Any time we are presented with
an opportunity to discuss these negative influences and better ways to handle
such situations, we seize them, and the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe presentation
was a great chance for us to educate our students about what they may face and
how they can react to these situations.”
continues to make progress in its fight against the epidemic of prescription
drug abuse. According to the 2012
Kentucky Incentives for Prevention School Survey, the percentage of Kentucky
teens misusing prescription drugs has dropped dramatically over the past four
the latest report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration shows the non-medical use of prescription pain relievers among
all age groups in Kentucky is down and for the first time, the state is below
the national average for prescription drug abuse.
General Conway launched Kentucky’s first and only statewide Prescription Drug
Abuse Prevention Task Force in August of 2009.
The task force has been involved in more than 450 prescription drug
diversion investigations, including Operation Flamingo Road, the state’s
largest prescription drug bust that resulted in the arrest of more than 500
Conway also worked closely with Governor Beshear, House Speaker Stumbo, Senate
President Stivers and other lawmakers to win passage of landmark legislation in
2012 to prevent the abuse and diversion of prescription pills in the
Commonwealth. Since passage of HB 1,
overdose deaths in Kentucky declined for the first time in a decade and more
than half of the state’s pain management clinics have closed their doors.
January 2014, General Conway announced that more than $32 million recovered in
settlements with two pharmaceutical companies is being used throughout Kentucky
to expand substance abuse treatment, including opiate addictions. The settlement funds will create a new treatment
center for adults, treatment scholarships, a grant program for new juvenile
treatment beds and/or centers, and expanded services for juveniles.
addition to the work being done here in the Commonwealth, Attorney General
Conway reached across party lines to work with Attorney General Pam Bondi in
Florida to ensure that her state implemented an electronic prescription drug
monitoring system similar to Kentucky’s KASPER system. Together they have worked to shut down the
pill pipeline between Florida and Kentucky and to see that all 50 states have
prescription drug monitoring programs in place and that all of the programs can
share data across state lines. General
Conway and General Bondi serve as co-chairs of the National Association of
Attorneys General Substance Abuse Committee.
can follow Attorney General Conway on Twitter @kyoag, visit the Attorney General’s
Facebook page or
view videos on our YouTube channel.