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Friday, July 26, 2013

Kentucky's Fight Against Prescription Drug Abuse

Last year, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear signed a new law designed to fight prescription drug abuse; this new law has lowered the number of doses of opioid painkillers that were prescribed in the state. The new law requires that pain clinics be licensed, set requirements for ownership and employment, pushing the Kentucky’s licensure board to develop regulations for pain clinics.

20 pain management clinics not owned by physicians have closed, according to the Associated Press. Now, thousands of medical providers have registered with the state’s prescription drug monitoring program.

The number of hydrocodone doses decreased by 9.5 percent, and oxycodone doses dropped by 10.5 percent, the governor points out. For the first time in a decade deaths have decreased; those caused by prescription or illicit drugs decreased from 1,023 in 2011, to 1,004 in 2012.

“The impact of this bill can’t be measured just in the numbers of pills we’ve kept off the streets,” Governor Beshear said in a news release. “This bill, I believe, has literally saved lives in Kentucky.”

Kentucky has long been considered one of the worst states regarding prescription drug abuse, it is great to see some reductions in the number of drugs prescribed as well as overdose deaths.

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