As Kentucky lawmakers consider legislation that would tackle suspect pain management clinics, the issue is making waves in Washington as well. On Thursday, Attorney General Jack Conway, right, told the U.S. Congress “that every state in the nation needs a prescription drug tracking system like Kentucky’s and that the states must be able to share the information they collect,” reports James R. Carroll for The Courier-Journal.
“This issue knows no party — it’s an American tragedy,” Conway said.
Conway was joined by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who called prescription drug abuse “a national crisis.” They were supported by Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, who said tracking systems “need to be real-time, and they need to be interoperable across states.”
There are two bills that have been proposed to address the issue, one that would “require those prescribing drugs to be informed about the potential risks of pharmaceutical misuse,” Carroll reports. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-5th District, is one of the co-sponsors. Rogers is also co-sponsoring a bill that would require that oxycodone only be prescribed for severe pain. The bills have been in committees for months and have not been voted on.
Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., said almost 30,000 Americans die each year from prescription drug overdoses. The scourge caused at least 1,000 deaths in Kentucky last year. “If 30,000 Americans died every year from food poisoning, Congress would take action,” Mack said. “If 30,000 Americans died from pesticide exposure, Congress would take action. For that matter, if 30,00 dolphins died and washed up on our beaches every year, Congress would take action. So why are the victims of prescription drug abuse treated any differently?” (Read more)