Lawmakers hear testimony about state’s pill mill problem, discuss whether to put all prescription-drug issues into one bill

With a raid on a pain clinic in Paintsville making headlines yesterday morning, state legislators heard from community leaders and officials telling them to pass legislation to curb the proliferation of pill mills.

Lois Windhorst, best known as a leader of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, told the Senate Judiciary Committee about a family member she lost to prescription-drug abuse. “It just progressively got worse,” she said. “She carried a big bag of pills with her wherever she went.”
On the legislative agenda is Senate Bill 42, which “would require licenses for pain management clinics and doctors to own them,” notes Greg Hall of The Courier-Journal. There are 77 pain clinics in the state, 33 of which are owned by people who have no medical background.
No vote was taken on the bill. Its sponsor, Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, said he will revise it based on yesterday’s testimony.
Sen. Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, argued for a more all-inclusive bill, which would include the premise of Higdon’s bill; ban cash payment at clinics, as proposed in House Bill 251; and require doctors and pharmacists to use the state’s electronic drug monitoring system known as KASPER, a bill that Attorney General Jack Conway and others are expected to push once it is filed.
Jones “also said filling prescriptions from out of state should be required to check with registries in those states to guard against duplicate prescriptions,” Hall reports.
Committee Chairman Tom Jensen, R-London, said there is much support to deal with the issue of prescription-drug abuse in this legislative session. Nearly 1,000 Kentuckians die each year due to prescription drug overdoses. (Read more)
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