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Beshear: Opioid painkiller being pulled by pharmaceutical company ‘first step’ in fighting epidemic

Opana Is Taking Over For Oxycontin among opiode usersOpana Is Taking Over For Oxycontin among opiode users

Beshear sent concerns on OPANA to FDA

FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 7, 2017) – In 2015, more than 225 Kentuckians died from a drug overdose with Opana in their blood.

Now that the makers of the opioid painkiller announced July 6 that it will no longer sell the drug, Attorney General Andy Beshear is calling the move a “first step” in fighting against what he believes is the single greatest threat to Kentucky – the state’s drug epidemic.

Beshear sent his concerns on the potential for abuse by Kentuckians on a reformulation of the drug, Opana ER (extended release), to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in February during an open comment period on the drug.

“The FDA previously determined the reformulated Opana ER can still be readily prepared for injection and can be crushed with common items for snorting,” Beshear said in his comments to the agency. “‘Snortable’ or injectable drugs have crippled Kentucky, ranging from the widespread abuse of Oxycontin to the return of heroin. Where the reformulation has merely been found to impede one of many means of abuse, approving labeling Opana ER as ‘abuse deterrent’ may mislead patients and providers.”

In his comments, Beshear said he was “encouraged that the agency is taking a hard look at the safety of this powerful drug.”

The FDA requested on June 8 that Endo Pharmaceuticals remove Opana ER from the market.

Beshear’s comments to the FDA on Opana ER is part of his ongoing efforts to address the opioid crisis in Kentucky.

“Opana ER has already taken the lives of Kentuckians,” Beshear said. “Louisvillian Emily Walden, whose son, T.J., died of an Opana ER overdose in 2012, has led the charge to have the reformulated drug removed from the market. By working hand-in-hand with dedicated Kentuckians like Emily, we can and will end our opioid epidemic.”

On June 28, Beshear announced that his office intends to file multiple lawsuits against drug manufacturers, distributors and retailers where there is evidence that they contributed to the opioid epidemic by illegally marketing and selling opioids to Kentuckians.

To support this litigation, Beshear issued a request for proposal (RFP) for legal services to assist the Commonwealth in multiple lawsuits and to ensure that Kentucky tax dollars are not used for the costs of the litigations.

Beshear is co-chair on the National Association of Attorneys General Substance Abuse Committee.

The AG’s office previously settled a $24 million lawsuit with Purdue Pharma regarding OxyContin. Beshear’s office has provided $8 million from that settlement directly to 15 substance treatment centers across Kentucky.

From a different drug company settlement, the office dedicated $2 million to expand and enhance Rocket Docket programs that expedite drug cases, generate significant cost savings and allow select defendants rapid access to substance abuse treatment.

Recently, Beshear joined a multistate lawsuit alleging the drugmaker of Suboxone, a drug used for treating opioid addiction, tried to monopolize the market.

Beshear is currently working with local law enforcement and community leaders to host substance abuse awareness forums across the state. The office has also been instrumental in numerous drug related arrests, including working with federal authorities on arresting a fentanyl dealer whose drugs had killed several Kentuckians.

“The abuse and diversion of Opana and other strong opioids is devastating the health of many of our Commonwealth’s citizens, and they, as well as our Medicaid and corrections departments, pay an enormous financial price in the attempt to treat this epidemic,” Beshear told the FDA. “It would benefit public health for the FDA to create and implement deadlines for the pharmaceutical industry to develop more robust abuse deterrent formulations for these high-dose opioids and to require that development before granting abuse deterrent labeling.”

Ky. Health Care coalitionKy. Health Care coalition

The region 10/11 Healthcare Coalition will hold its EQUIPMENT SHOWCASE at the Lawrence County Community Center in Louisa, Kentucky from 9am to 12pm on June 27, 2017. This meeting will feature a response equipment showcase of Region 10/11 assets, and assets from non-Coalition partners. Some of this year’s displays will include Zumro tents, communication equipment, Med-Surge trailer, 100 surge bed trailer, towable generators, Ambu bus, PPE and Trans-Star Ambulance Ebola/Infectious Disease patient transport containment unit. We would like to invite all of the public, healthcare providers, officials, law enforcement, EMS, fire departments, emergency managers and all other ESF 8 Partners to see what assets are available in the event of an emergency response or disaster. For more information please contact Gina M. Porter, Region 10/11 Healthcare Coalition Coordinator at 606-886-2788 Ext. 247.


Farmers market early sale Farmers market early sale

Farm Home Field Day Farm Home Field Day


Laura Opell Maggard
ANR Extension Agent
Lawrence County Extension Office
249 Industrial Park Road
Louisa, KY 41230
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Lawrence County Health Department earns CDC Recognition for its Diabetes Prevention Program

June 15, 2016

The Lawrence County Health Department has earned Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Full Recognition for its National Diabetes Prevention Program. This designation is reserved for programs that have effectively delivered a quality, evidence-based program that meets all of the standards for CDC recognition.

The health department’s Change for Life Diabetes Prevention Program is a one-year community-based program designed to enable adults to make lifestyle changes that will improve their overall health and reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. “Nine out of ten people with pre-diabetes don’t know they have it,” said Ashley Wilks, diabetes prevention program lifestyle coach. “Without weight loss and physical activity, 15 – 30% of those with pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.”

In a classroom setting, a trained lifestyle coach will help you change your lifestyle by learning about healthy eating, physical activity and other behavior changes over the course of one year. Topics covered include nutrition, getting started with physical activity, overcoming stress, staying motivated, and more. The program consists of 16 weekly sessions followed by six monthly sessions.

While a year may sound like a long commitment; learning new habits, gaining new skills, and building confidence takes time. As you begin to eat better and become more active, you’ll notice changes in how you feel, and maybe in how you look. “It’s not a fad diet or an exercise class or a quick fix,” said Wilks. “It’s a year-long program focused on long-term changes and lasting results.”

Research led by the National Institutes of Health showed that people with pre-diabetes who take part in a structured lifestyle change program can cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%. Even after 10 years, people who completed the program were 1/3 less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

For more information, call Ashley Wilks at 606-638-9500 or visit

Take the Diabetes Risk Test at


Lawrence County Health Department is located at 1080 Meadowbrook Lane, Louisa, KY 41230. Visit our website at or find us on Facebook.


Ashley Wilks


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Recent gains in the number of people insured will be in jeopardy under health-care bills in Congress, largely from a proposed dramatic cut in federal funding for Medicaid, reports Phil Galewitz of Kaiser Health News.

"There is no doubt that children and families in small towns would be disproportionately harmed by cuts to Medicaid," Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, told Galewitz.

"According to the center's new report, Medicaid covered 45 percent of children and 16 percent of adults in small towns and rural areas in 2015," Galewitz explains. "Those figures are lower in metropolitan areas – 38 percent of children and 15 percent of adults. Rural areas have larger Medicaid populations because more people with disabilities live there, household incomes tend to be lower, unemployment rates higher and jobs with employer-paid insurance less common, the Georgetown report said. In states that expanded Medicaid under Obamacare, the rate of uninsured people in small towns and rural areas fell by 11 percentage points between 2008-09 and 2014-15 – from 22 percent to 11 percent, the report said. That was slightly larger than the decrease in metro areas of expansion states."

Other findings from the report: Rural areas tend to have larger Medicaid populations because more people with disabilities live there, household incomes tend to be lower, unemployment rates higher and jobs with employer-paid insurance less common. In states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA the rate of uninsured people in small towns and rural areas fell by 11 percentage points between 2008-09 and 2014-15, from 22 percent to 11 percent, a slightly larger decrease than in metro areas of expansion states.

The House bill would stop funding of the Medicaid expansion in 2020. Senate Republicans have not released a bill, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has proposed a phase-out through 2023, The Hill reports.

Written by Danielle Ray