FRANKFORT, Ky. – Attorney General Jack Conway and his Keep Kentucky Kids Safe partners today alerted students in Jessamine and Clark counties to the dangers of abusing prescription drugs. The programs come amid clear signs that Kentucky is making progress in its fight against the epidemic of prescription drug abuse.
“The non-medical use of prescription pain relievers among all age groups in Kentucky is down and for the first time, we are below the national average for prescription drug abuse, according to the latest report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,” General Conway said. “Our progress is encouraging, but we must remain vigilant so that we don’t lose another generation to pain pill addiction.”
General Conway reminded students at George Rogers Clark High School in Winchester, Ky. and West Jessamine High School in Nicholasville, Ky. that they are risking their lives and futures if they take a medication that is not prescribed to them by their doctor.
“These are some of the most addictive substances on the planet,” General Conway said. “If taken in the wrong combination, or with other substances, they can kill you.”
Kentucky has the sixth highest overdose rate in the country. With more than 1,000 prescription drug overdose deaths each year, more people in the Commonwealth are dying from overdoses than traffic accidents.
General Conway launched the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe initiative in 2010 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 like Dr. Karen Shay, a Morehead dentist whose daughter, Sarah, died of a prescription drug overdose in 2006.
“The grief that prescription drug abuse has caused my family is unimaginable,” Shay said. “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about Sarah. By sharing her story with others, I hope I can prevent this heartache for other families.”
Since 2010, General Conway and his Keep Kentucky Kids Safe partners have alerted nearly 20,000 students in more than two dozen Kentucky counties to the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
“The Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program partners are providing a valuable service to the children and families of the Commonwealth by raising awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse,” said Lu S. Young, Jessamine Schools Superintendent. “The health and safety of our students is a top priority for our district and we are appreciative that Attorney General Conway is bringing this important message to Jessamine County.”