Governor Steve Beshear announced today that Kentucky has been selected to participate in a prescription drug abuse initiative hosted by the National Governors Association. The Commonwealth joins Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon and Virginia in developing and implementing comprehensive and coordinated strategies that take advantage of all available tools and resources to address this growing problem.
"Prescription drug abuse continues to be the fastest growing drug-related issue facing our communities, and unfortunately, Kentucky is not alone in this plight," Gov. Beshear said. "As the problem persists and spreads, we recognize that we need comprehensive regional and national strategies to combat the abuse, while ensuring that the legitimate medical needs of our citizens are met."
As part of the initiative, the selected states will:
Participate in two, two-day policy academy meetings;
Participate in an in-state policy workshop;
Receive targeted technical assistance from NGA Center staff and a national faculty of experts;
Participate in networking activities; and
Receive a $45,000 subgrant to support related activities.
Other state officials applauded Kentucky's inclusion in the initiative.
"I appreciate Gov. Beshear's leadership and commitment to combating an epidemic that kills more than 1,000 Kentuckians each year," said Attorney General Jack Conway. "Prescription drug abuse is an all hands on deck issue, and I look forward to participating in this new initiative to identify best practices and share ideas so that we can put a stop to a problem that is preventing Kentucky from being all that it can be."
"Kentucky has long been a leader in fighting prescription drug abuse, from being first in the nation to put its drug-monitoring program online to this year's far-reaching legislation to shut down pill mills and stop doctor shopping," said Rep. John Tilley, of Hopkinsville. "Just as importantly, all three branches of government have worked seamlessly so that we are providing a united front. With all of that in mind, I think Kentucky is a natural choice for this initiative. I'm proud that we will get a chance to share our experiences and to learn what others are doing. Hopefully, we can come up with ideas that will help the nation reverse this epidemic."
"Working through several anti-drug bills these past few years has made it very clear that to be successful, one must engage at all levels from town to county to state," said Sen. Robert. Stivers, of Manchester. "This program is another step for greater coordination."
This project is in partnership with the National Safety Council and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, CVS Caremark Corporation, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the Healthcare Management Distribution Association, Rite Aid Corporation, the Alliance of Safe Online Pharmacies and Magellan Health Services.