Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Kentucky Officials Favor Bill Seeking Reform on Prescription Drug Law

Kentucky officials continue to tinker with their campaign against prescription drug abuse, which they started last year. Officials now want a few changes in their existing prescription drug law that would benefit those who are not prescription drug abusers.

Gov. Steve Beshear and some leaders of the House and Senate have joined forces in pushing for legislation that would exempt patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and hospice centers from rules intended to make it more difficult for addicts to get painkillers, The Associated Press reports.

Under the state’s current law, medical professionals are required to check their patients’ drug histories using the state’s electronic drug tracking system — Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting (KASPER) — before writing a prescription. But a little leniency for certain patients may soon apply if HB 217 clears the senate.

According to the Courier-Journal, the legislation is proposing patients in hospitals and long-term care facilities to be exempted from some prescription regulations. Physical and mental examinations would only be required “as appropriate to the patient’s medical complaints,” rather than in each case when a controlled substance is prescribed. Additionally, surgery patients would have a 14-day exemption period to receive pain medication related to the procedure. The changes are aimed at accommodating patients who are clearly not drug abusers or traffickers.

“This issue is about Kentucky and the health of Kentucky and the safety of Kentucky and the very lives of Kentuckians,” Beshear said.

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