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They say it has likely helped the problem, but some changes are in the works to alleviate some unintended effects.
State legislators might soon discuss changes to the pill mill legislation they approved last year, and is now law.
The pill mill bill, passed during last year’s special session, requires doctors and pharmacists to use the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting system to monitor the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances.
The bill also requires pain management clinics be owned and operated by licensed doctors and sets disciplinary guidelines for those who inappropriately prescribe pain medicine.
There has been criticism of the law, stating that it causes law-abiding residents trouble when getting medications.
State Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, says a task force formed to discuss the bill has discussed several issues with the law, specifically that medical licensure personnel have added the regulation that Schedule III and IV drugs are to be monitored in the system.
The original law called for just Schedule II drugs to be monitored. Higdon said also requiring that Schedule III and IV drugs be monitored has made it difficult for some to get the medication they need.
State Rep. John “Bam” Carney, R-Campbellsville, said some regulations created as a result of the law have required elderly patients to have exams before getting their medication.
Some of the regulations, Carney said, came after the law was passed and weren’t called for in the legislation. Many of the regulations, he said, are “nonsense.”
“It’s placed a lot more stringent [regulations] that bother folks,” he said. “And many of those [complaints] are legitimate.”
With a 30-day session this year, Higdon said, legislators are being quick to the draw when it comes to filing their bills.
He said he expects a request for some changes to the pill mill law to be filed this week.
“If a bill’s gonna pass, it needs to be talked about [this] week,” he said. “If it comes up in the Senate, I’ll be active in it.”
Carney said he believes there have been positive effects of the pill mill law, such as a double-digit number of suspect clinics closing.
“So I think it certainly has some positive impact,” he said.
Carney said medication overdoses have caused many deaths in Kentucky. The abuse of prescription drugs has been the subject of much talk between legislators.
“There’s no dispute we had to do something,” he said.
This year’s session is scheduled to adjourn March 26, after the final two working days of the session.
To contact Carney during this year’s General Assembly session, call 465-5400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact Higdon, call (270) 692-6945 or email email@example.com.
Higdon and Carney can both be reached on the state’s legislative message line at (800) 372-7181.