Conway Testifies Before Congress About Prescription Drug Abuse

Mar 1, 2012

WASHINGTON - Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway was in the nation’s capital Thursday to testify about prescription drug diversion in the Commonwealth.

Conway told lawmakers at a subcommittee hearing of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee that prescription drug monitoring programs – or PDMPs -- are underutilized.

“If you want to know what you can do to help, help us get all 50 states up with PDMPs and with systems that talk to one another. We can do our jobs if we can get those systems up and running and if we can get the doctors to use them.”

There are currently 48 states that have authorized prescription monitoring programs, but only 40 are operational.

Conway says physicians in Kentucky need a system that will make it easier to track patients who get painkillers out of state.

"The problem for us has been that docs don’t want to be forced to do this. And they don’t have a system that they think is user friendly that takes 30 seconds or less and tells you, if you’re in eastern Kentucky, whether or not this patient has been to West Virginia, Ohio, or Virginia or Tennessee."

Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske also spoke at the congressional hearing. He praised Kentucky’s prescription monitoring program, but says it’s not a priority for many states due to budget limitations.