Conway Wants to End Drug Abuse Among Teens
By Attorney General's Office
FRANKFORT, KY - Attorney General Conway will be part of a new national action campaign to end prescription drug abuse among teenagers. As Co-Chair of the National Association of Attorneys General’s (NAAG) Substance Abuse Committee, General Conway is joining with The Partnership at Drugfree.org as it launches a multi-year initiative called The Medicine Abuse Project the week of September 23-29, 2012. The project's goal is to prevent half a million teens from abusing prescription medications within five years.
“Non-medical use or abuse of prescription painkillers is the fastest-growing drug problem in the United States and it is killing our kids,” General Conway said. “This is an epidemic that is beginning in homes across Kentucky and the nation. I look forward to working with The Partnership at Drugfree.org to ensure that we don’t lose another generation to this scourge.”
One person dies every 19 minutes in the United States from an overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Kentucky, more than 1,000 people die each year from prescription drug overdoses.
“More Kentuckians die from overdoses than traffic accidents,” General Conway said. “Research also shows that as many as one in five teens say they have taken a prescription drug without having a prescription for it. That’s why I continue to travel the state warning students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and urging parents to secure and monitor all medications in the home and safely dispose of unused pills by means of a dedicated drop box or prescription drug take-back events.”
General Conway will mark the launch next week of The Medicine Abuse Project by talking to Kentucky kids about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs.
“General Conway is a national leader in the fight to prevent prescription drug abuse and The Partnership at Drugfree.org is honored to be working with him on The Medicine Abuse Project,” said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org. “Together we will be motivating people to learn more about teen medicine abuse, safeguard their medications and talk to the teens they know about the issue, all with the goal of preventing half a million teens from abusing medicine in the next five years.”
Attorney General Conway will visit with students at Dixie Heights High School, 3010 Dixie Highway, Crestview Hills, Ky. from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m. on Monday, September 24, 2012. The program is also part of the Attorney General’s Keep Kentucky Kids Safe awareness and prevention initiative.
Dr. Karen Shay, a dentist from Morehead, Ky. who lost a daughter to a prescription drug overdose, and Bill Mark, Director of the Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force, will join the Attorney General at Dixie Heights.
Attorney General Conway launched Keep Kentucky Kids Safe in 2010 with the Kentucky Justice Cabinet and its Office of Drug Control Policy, the Kentucky Pharmacists Association, National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI), Operation UNITE, Dr. Shay and Lynn Kissick, another concerned parent who lost a daughter to a prescription drug overdose.
To date, the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe partners have held prevention assemblies in nearly two-dozen schools across the Commonwealth, alerting nearly 15,000 students to the deadly consequences of abusing prescription pills.
Prescription Drug Diversion Efforts
In addition to his public awareness efforts, Attorney General Conway worked closely with Governor Beshear, House Speaker Stumbo and other lawmakers to win passage of landmark legislation to prevent the abuse and diversion of prescription pills in the Commonwealth.
In 2009, Attorney General Conway launched Kentucky’s first and only statewide Prescription Drug Diversion Task Force. The task force has been involved in more than 130 prescription drug diversion investigations, including Operation Flamingo Road, the state’s largest prescription drug bust that resulted in the arrests of more than 500 people.
General Conway also reached across party lines to work with Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi to ensure that her state implemented an electronic prescription drug monitoring system similar to Kentucky’s KASPER system. The two continue to work closely to combat prescription drug abuse in their respective states and nationally. Generals Conway and Bondi are co-chairing NAAG’s Substance Abuse Committee and are committed to ensuring that all 50 states have prescription drug monitoring programs and that all of the programs can share data across state lines. They’ve also testified together in front of Congress about the explosion of prescription drug abuse.
Additionally, the Attorney General’s office is a member of the Interstate Prescription Drug Task Force that is working with neighboring states, like Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia, to shut down the prescription drug pipeline into Kentucky.
For more information on General Conway’s drug diversion efforts or the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program, please visit http://ag.ky.gov/rxabuse.htm .