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FRANKFORT, Ky. (February 28, 2017) – Today, the House passed an aggressive measure to tackle Kentucky’s drug epidemic. House Bill 333, sponsored by Rep. Kim Moser, R-Taylor Mill, will reschedule the drug class for carfentanil and fentanyl derivatives from a Schedule II controlled substance to a Schedule I, increasing penalties in Kentucky.
“Kentucky is the epicenter of our nation’s drug crisis, and we must be leaders on this issue,” said Rep. Moser, whose career has been focused on drug control and treatment in the Commonwealth. “House Bill 333 will not only increase penalties for these deadly substances, but send a clear message that we will not tolerate these drugs in our communities. I commend the House for passing this bill in a swift and bipartisan manner.”
In an effort to prevent patients from succumbing to pain pill addiction, House Bill 333 also limits the amount of scheduled II controlled substances prescribed in Kentucky to a 3-day limit. The measure does not hinder patients in cases that are deemed medically necessary for a prescription lasting longer than three days, but simply requires the medical professional to document that need.
“We are constantly seeing addiction begin in our medicine cabinets, and it is imperative that we break the mindset of opioids being the sole solution to pain,” added Rep. Moser. “This legislation will help prevent the excessive prescribing of pain pills, promote alternative treatments, and work toward decreasing addiction that, far too often, begins with a medical need.”
The measure now heads to the Senate for consideration.
FRANKFORT – Senate Democratic Floor Leader Ray S. Jones II, D-Pikeville, has re-filed legislation that would allow Kentucky schools to educate children on sexual abuse in a child friendly manner.
Senate Bill 250, which would be named Erin’s Law after a victim of child sexual abuse, would allow the Kentucky Department of Education to develop a program on detecting child physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect and how to report suspected abuse.
“Child abuse is on the rise in Kentucky and we have to step in,” said Senator Jones.
Erin Merryn, the bill’s namesake, is a child sexual abuse survivor who advocates getting Erin’s Law in every state and at the federal level. At 6 ½, Erin was raped by an adult male and later was sexually abused by an older male cousin. Both used fear to silence her. She said she was never educated on what to do or who to tell. Erin has now written two books about her experience, “Stolen Innocence” “Living for Today,” she has earned a master’s degree in social work, and is a public speaker. Her goal in getting Erin’s Law passed is to help other victims – or those with whom they are in contact – to recognize abuse and know where to seek help.
Senator Jones has the same goal. “One in three girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday,” he said. “Ninety percent of the time, the child knows the abuser. This often keeps the child from turning to the parent. They are alone in trying to determine between a good touch and a bad touch or in dealing with their fear of repercussion for reaching out for help.”
Erin’s Law would allow schools to have age-appropriate education programs about recognizing and reporting abuse, which would prevent more children from becoming victims, he added.
“This bill will have a significant impact when it is passed. Please contact your legislators and tell them to support Erin’s Law to prevent other children from being abused,” Senator Jones said.
To leave a message for a legislator, call the toll-free message line at (800) 372-7181. Citizens with hearing impairments may leave messages for lawmakers at the TTY message line at (808) 896-0305.
Gov. Matt Bevin testified Wednesday in support of a bill that would restrict some prescriptions for painkillers to three-day supplies, saying the commonwealth has a moral obligation to take action to curb the opioid addictions afflicting Kentuckians.
“We’ve got to make it harder to get addicted,” Bevin told state lawmakers.
He questioned why people in America are given large volumes of highly addictive drugs to take home and said House Bill 333 can help address that problem in Kentucky.
Bevin encouraged the members of the state House of Representatives’ judiciary committee, which approved the bill Wednesday, to move beyond paying “lip service” to the opioid crisis that cripples Kentucky and the U.S. and take definitive action.
“It’s a huge problem nationally. It’s a bigger problem for Kentucky,” Bevin told reporters Wednesday before he testified. “For me to not take leadership I think would be an abdication of not only my responsibility but the opportunity that I have as governor to make sure that this is elevated to a level of discussion that it deserves.”
House Bill 333 would prohibit medical professionals from giving patients prescriptions for more than a three-day supply of a Schedule II controlled substance — such as narcotics like OxyContin and Dilaudid — to treat pain as an acute medical condition.
The legislation includes several exceptions to its proposed three-day rule, which will preserve prescribers’ ability to make professional judgments on a case-by-case basis, according to its sponsor, Republican Rep. Kimberly Poore Moser of Taylor Mill. Doctors who determine it’s medically necessary to give a patient a larger supply of a restricted drug could do so as long as they provide justification for that deand cision. And Schedule II drugs could be prescribed for more than three days to treat chronic or cancer-related pain as well as for patients in hospice care.
“The goal is to reduce the potential for addiction,” Moser said. “This is not telling providers that they can’t prescribe more than three days.”
This bill will bring Kentucky in line with federal guidelines for opioid prescriptions, Moser said. It also would help ensure that hempderived cannabidiol products, such as oil used to treat epilepsy, could be prescribed legally in Kentucky if it is approved by the U.S. Food Drug Administration.
The legislation includes other provisions that would toughen trafficking penalties for fentanyl, which can be mixed in with the heroin people buy off the street and has been linked to many fatal overdoses in Kentucky. A bill that passed in the state Senate this week also targets fentanyl trafficking.
House Bill 333 now heads to the House floor for a vote.
By Morgan Watkins