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The news is bad, but there is good news too.
Kentucky ranks third highest in drug overdose deaths in the US (23.6 per 100,000 people) according to a new report from the Trust for America’s Health titled Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic (www.HealthyAmericans.org).
The good news is that Kentucky is one of only a handful of states putting nine out of 10 recommended prevention strategies in place to prevent these deaths. Kudos are in order for our state legislators for their proactive stance and for passing House Bill 1 in 2012, a landmark bill for prescription drug abuse prevention. Kentucky now has the following nine strategies in place:
9. Expansion of Medicaid to cover substance use disorders and mental illnesses.
8. Statewide prescription drug-monitoring program in place
7. Law requiring mandatory use of the prescription drug-monitoring program by prescribers.
6. Law requiring a medical history and physical exam before a controlled substance is prescribed.
5. Law requiring a Medicaid recipient suspected of abusing a controlled substance to use a single prescriber and pharmacy.
4. Law prohibiting patients from withholding information on medications prescribed by other providers.
3. Law allowing pharmacy to require an ID from a patient before dispensing controlled substances.
2. Expanding use of the overdose rescue drug naloxone by laypersons.
1. Law requiring medical provider education on prescription pain killer abuse.
The final recommendation is to enact a “good samaritan” law that gives amnesty from prosecution to an individual who calls for medical help for someone who may be overdosing. In 2013, Kentucky passed a law like this for alcohol poisoning, but it does not include overdose.
Remember to tell YOUR children and youth that you strongly disapprove of them drinking or drugging- it’s important.
Jackie McComb, Prevention Specialist
Seven Counties Services Prevention Division