Friday, July 27, 2012
Public awareness campaign aimed at warning about the dangers of prescription drug abuse
A new awareness effort is under way to warn Kentuckians about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and to remind them of the importance of monitoring, securing and safely disposing of unneeded prescription pills.
As part of the effort, Attorney General Jack Conway and the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe campaign are working with the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators and Lamar Outdoor Advertising to place billboards across Kentucky warning about what has become the fastest-growing drug problem in the United States.
“We are doing everything we can to warn Kentuckians about the deadly consequences of prescription drug abuse to ensure that we don’t lose another generation to this scourge,” Conway said. “I appreciate the assistance we have received from Lamar, NADDI and our other partners as we launch this new awareness effort across the Commonwealth.”
With controlled-substance prescriptions on the rise in 118 of the state’s 120 counties, Kentucky is the fourth most medicated state in the country, according to Forbes Magazine. Last year, medical professionals in Kentucky prescribed 219 million doses of hydrocodone. That’s 50 doses for every man, woman and child in the state.
Over the past decade, prescription drug overdose deaths have doubled, rising to nearly 1,000 a year. More people in Kentucky are dying from overdoses than traffic accidents.
Keep Kentucky Kids Safe billboards are already on display at multiple locations in Lexington and will appear in Danville, Frankfort, Somerset, Winchester, Morehead, London, Liberty, Louisville, Richmond, Paducah, Owensboro and Covington in the coming weeks.
“The Keep Kentucky Kids Safe campaign builds on the longstanding partnership between NADDI and the Attorney General’s Office,” said Paula York, NADDI of Kentucky President. “NADDI will continue to work with General Conway and his staff to educate law enforcement, health care professionals, as well as Kentucky families, about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and the importance of monitoring and securing prescription pills in the home.”
In 2010, Conway joined with the parents of overdose victims, the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, NADDI, Operation UNITE and the Kentucky Pharmacists Association to launch the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe statewide education and awareness initiative. To date, General Conway and his partners have warned more than 10,000 middle and high school students in nearly two dozen counties about the risks associated with prescription drug abuse.
As part of the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program, students are encouraged to participate in an annual statewide video public service announcement contest on the perils of prescription drug abuse. Additionally, the attorney general and his staff will raise awareness about the problem at this year’s Kentucky State Fair.
Earlier this year, Kentucky lawmakers won passage of landmark legislation to prevent the abuse and diversion of prescription pills in the state. The legislation went into effect a week ago. Read more here.
For more information on drug diversion efforts and the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program, please click here.
From Office of the Attorney General