Prescription Pill Problem

"We had a problem that was spiraling out of control, and something had to be done," said Van Ingram, KY Office of Drug Control Policy.

It was an epidemic, many wanted to fight.

So, lawmakers and law enforcement got together and eventually passed the pill mill legislation to combat the ease at which so many people could easily get prescription pills through places known as pill mills.

The passage of this came in a special session and to some, the law was rushed.

"The bill came up, literally we heard about it, and within minutes we were voting on it. So, we really didn't have anytime to read it, to look at it, to understand it. In hindsight, I think I made the right vote," said Rep. Jim DeCesare, 21st District.

DeCesare voted against it. He said the idea behind the bill is good, but the way it is constructed hurts the wrong people like law abiding patients.

"They're literally being treated like the criminal in some cases. They're having to go in and have that face to face with their physician who has treated them for years. They're having to have drug tests and all these different things," said DeCesare.

The pill mill bill also known as House Bill 1, now makes doctors report to the KASPER system, a state drug monitoring system.

Before, doctors were not required to use the KASPER reporting system.

"We had a system that was a model for the nation, but only 28 percent of prescribers in Kentucky were signed up to use it," said Ingram.

This law also has doctors upset with some of the requirements and added stress.

"I'm being inundated with requests for us to treat chronic pain, and patients who have been discharged from other practices because they want to decrease the number of pain management patients they're dealing with," said Dr. Fred Gott, cardiologist.

"No other medical specialty has to be board certified in order to operate in the state of Kentucky, but they want to mandate that pain management physicians are board certified. This is unprecedented, unfair, and simply not a good law," said Gott.

Nonetheless, those in favor say if you are a law abiding resident and need a prescription, you will get it.

"It's things like doing a physical examination, obtaining a complete medical history, devising a written treatment plan for the patient, discussing the risk and benefits of using a controlled substance. There's nothing here that prevents any prescriber from prescribing anything," said Ingram.

There are multiple takes on this bill, and not every doctor is upset about it.

"I had a doctor tell me that the use of KASPER has really opened up the eyes of him and his colleagues in his group practice, because they're identifying patients who are doctor shopping that they never would have dreamed are doing that," said Ingram.

Another fear is that the legislation simply doesn't work.

"We had a pill mill here in Bowling Green that got shut down because of this legislation, there's no question about it, but there's also no question that pill mill opened here because of that legislation. It opened right after the law went into effect, and it was closed within a month," said DeCesare.

Since the passage of the bill, six pain medication places are now closed and 13 more are under license review.

The next legislative session will be half as long as the 2012, which could make it more difficult to get an amendment completed.


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