Attorney General Jack Conway has joined 42 state and territorial attorneys general in sending a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging it to require manufacturers of generic prescription pain relievers to develop tamper-resistant versions of their products.
General Conway co-sponsored the letter with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, Maine Attorney General Janet Mills and Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.
"Prescription drug abuse is destroying families across the Commonwealth," General Conway said. "Requiring abuse-deterrent formulations for generic opioids is a common sense improvement that provides us another important tool to help fight this epidemic."
In their letter, the bipartisan coalition of attorneys general thanked the FDA for their recent efforts to require abuse-deterrent formulations for branded opioid drugs. However, they also urged the FDA to go even further by ensuring that generic opioids, like their branded counterparts, have abuse-deterrent properties.
"Accordingly, the undersigned State Attorneys General respectfully request that the FDA provide clear and fair regulatory standards for the incorporation of abuse-deterrent technologies into generic opioids," the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) letter reads.
General Conway and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi co-chair the NAAG Substance Abuse Committee.
Attorneys general across the country remain in the national forefront combating prescription abuse by sponsoring prescription drug-take back efforts, spearheading legislative and law enforcement initiatives in their respective jurisdictions, and mandating state level prescription drug monitoring programs.
A copy of the letter sent to the FDA is available here: http://goo.gl/ZKgIAb .
PRESCRIPTION DRUG DIVERSION EFFORTS
General Conway launched Kentucky's first and only statewide Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force in August of 2009. The task force has been involved in more than 430 prescription drug diversion investigations, including Operation Flamingo Road, the state's largest prescription drug bust that resulted in the arrest of more than 500 people.
General Conway also worked closely with Governor Beshear, House Speaker Stumbo, Senate President Stivers and other lawmakers to win passage of landmark legislation in 2012 to prevent the abuse and diversion of prescription pills in the Commonwealth. Since passage of HB 1, overdose deaths in Kentucky declined for the first time in a decade, and half of the state's pain management clinics have closed their doors.
Additionally, the latest report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows a decline in the non-medical use of prescription pain relievers among all age groups in the Commonwealth. Kentucky is also below the national average for prescription drug abuse, for the first time.
In addition to the work being done here in the Commonwealth, Attorney General Conway reached across party lines to work with Attorney General Pam Bondi in Florida to ensure that her state implemented an electronic prescription drug monitoring system similar to Kentucky's KASPER system. Together they have worked to shut down the pill pipeline between Florida and Kentucky and to see that all 50 states have prescription drug monitoring programs in place and that all of the programs can share data across state lines.
KEEP KENTUCKY KIDS SAFE
In 2010, General Conway launched the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe initiative with the Kentucky Justice Cabinet and its Office of Drug Control Policy, Kentucky Pharmacists Association, National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI), Operation UNITE and concerned parents. Since its launch, Attorney General Conway and his partners have warned more than 30,000 students, parents and teachers about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
A recent survey has found that the percentage of Kentucky teens misusing prescription drugs has dropped dramatically over the past four years. According to the 2012 Kentucky Incentives for Prevention School Survey, the use of prescription drugs among students without a doctor's order has decreased steadily among sixth-, eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders since 2004. The declines have been the most significant since 2008, when the Attorney General's Office, along with state lawmakers and other agencies across the Commonwealth, began intensifying efforts to fight prescription drug abuse.
As part of the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program, students are encouraged to participate in an annual statewide video PSA contest on the risks of prescription drug abuse. Additionally, high school seniors whose lives have been affected by this issue can now apply for the Sarah Shay and Michael Donta Memorial Scholarships. The scholarships were created this year to help Kentucky students who have excelled in their personal and academic lives despite seeing firsthand the devastating consequences of prescription drug abuse.
FACES OF PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE
Attorney General Conway invites Kentuckians of all ages to share their stories about how prescription drug addiction has affected their families and communities through his "Faces of Prescription Drug Abuse" video series. Videos may be submitted by visiting the Attorney General's website at http://ag.ky.gov/rxabuse .