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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Study of Prescription Drug Abuse Laws in Kentucky

Over the years, both Florida and Kentucky have become epicenters of the prescription drug abuse problem in the United States. Each state has implemented new laws to combat the ever growing problem, but there have been questions of effectiveness on a number of levels. In Kentucky, officials announced that they will be studying the effectiveness of new laws designed to reduce prescription drug abuse, The Courier-Journal reports.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear signed a bill that requires that all pain clinics be licensed, and specifies requirements for ownership and employment, and requires the Kentucky licensure board to develop regulations for pain clinics. Law enforcement agencies have easier access to the state’s prescription drug monitoring database. Doctors need to examine patients, conduct full medical histories, and check electronic prescription records before prescribing narcotics.

The University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy’s Institute for Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy will be charged with conducting the study over a year-long period. The article points out that the study will be funded through a $100,000 federal grant. The Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, Van Ingram, said his office is interested in whether or not the new laws have unintended consequences.

The state’s prescription drug monitoring program, called KASPER, is under review as well as the state's prescribing patterns. Researchers are looking at prescription-drug-related deaths and emergency room visits; they will also be looking at patient behavior and the impact on drug treatment centers.

This year a second measure was passed, which excluded some facilities and patients from certain provisions, the article notes. 

The researchers will be determining whether or not the new laws have unintended consequences for patients with pain, and to come up with recommendations for improving the laws.

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