Leaders promise to work together to stop prescription pill abuse

By: Katie Roach Email
By: Katie Roach Email

Governor Steve Beshear vows to put a stop to pill mills in Kentucky through proposed legislation.

The U.S. Attorney's Office held the first Prescription Drug Abuse Summit Wednesday in Lexington.

Law enforcement, health care industry officials and U.S. Attorneys from both Kentucky and Florida are promising to work together on possible solutions to the prescription pill epidemic.

Governor Beshear said the pill problem is a corrosive evil and that it's claiming 82 lives in Kentucky a month by overdose.

"We have a problem, and it's literally killing our people," said Governor Beshear.

Floyd County Commonwealth's Attorney Brent Turner said his county is drowning in a sea of pills, and it's fueling the poverty in the area.

"I think the drug problem is driving the problem. Our workforce has been weakened by the addiction," said Turner.

As leaders from different industries spoke, it became clear that no one organization can fix this growing problem.

"We're not gonna solve it by prosecuting and locking up every person we can," said Turner.

"If we are going to solve the problem, we are gong to have to solve it outside the jails and outside of the courtrooms. It's gonna be solved in our schools our communities and our homes," said U.S. Attorney for the eastern Kentucky district Kerry Harvey.

With a combined effort, those at the summit hope to stop the illegal use of prescription pills that is hurting so many in our state.

The U.S. Attorney from the southern district of Florida also attended the summit.

Wifredo Ferrer has seen improvements in Florida in the past few years.

He says Kentucky and Florida share this problem, but believes the Florida pipeline is drying up.

New legislation in Florida that implemented a program like KASPER in Kentucky has helped, but he says that might not completely solve the problem.

"This problem can now become someone else's problem. The pain clinics can open up in other parts of the country," said Ferrer.

He also noted that fewer people in Kentucky are traveling to Florida to get pills.

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