Governor signs legislation to fight drug abuse

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

Governor Steve Beshear signed House Bill 1, known as the "pill mill bill" into law on Tuesday morning.
It is designed to fight prescription bill abuse and crackdown on alleged "pill mills."

Pharmacist Jeff Huff uses the prescription drug monitoring system KASPER at the pharmacy in Baptist Regional Medical Center in Corbin.

"It comes in fairly handy when we can monitor patients that are getting discharged that we might have some questions or suspicions about," said Huff.

Under new legislation signed on Tuesday, doctors and other prescribers are required to use KASPER to make sure patients are not getting pills from other doctors.

"I have a friend that's a dentist. He utilizes it. It helps him to know who might have legitimate problems or who might be drug seeking, so I think if more physicians use it, it could help them to monitor that as well," said Huff.

The bill also says pain management clinics can only be owned by licensed medical practitioners to cut down on so-called pill mills.

"There's instances of doctors hiding behind white coats and stethoscopes trafficking drugs and this bill will take a big step to prevent that," said Dan Smoot with Operation UNITE.

Governor Steve Beshear says the passage of this bill is meant to send a clear message to those operating pill mills.
"But we're also here to deliver a loud and clear message to the pill pushers in white coats in the illegitimate pill mills in Kentucky that message is get out of our state because we're coming after you," said Governor Beshear.

UNITE investigators say this bill will give them new tools to fight the drug problem.

The bill requires the medical licensing boards to investigate claims of abuse immediately and sets-up better coordination between health workers and police.

"We believe the pill mill bill, house bill one, is a step in the right direction," said Smoot.

However, UNITE officials say they plan to ask the General Assembly to strengthen the bill next year.

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