It’s not every day that Kentucky can serve as a precedent in terms of good legislation that should well be considered on the national stage.
But despite an unnecessary (and expensive) special session of the General Assembly, legislators in Frankfort, as well as Gov. Steve Beshear, should ultimately be commended for approving a measure that will in part mandate prescribers to register with and use the state’s electronic prescription monitoring program, known as KASPER.
Though there are many others, drug abuse is the biggest problem Eastern Kentucky is presently facing. Any action that the legislature can take to help ensure that unscrupulous doctors are not over-prescribing narcotics to patients is a good thing. Mandating that physicians use KASPER is a step in that direction, because Eastern Kentucky will never overcome its prescription drug problem until the suppliers are prevented from supplying dealers with vast amounts of pills.
This is, however, only a good first step, because Kentucky can’t solve this issue on its own. And this is one issue that is essentially nationwide.
Gov. Beshear recently advocated for a national system of tracking prescriptions, and this would be a good second step. We were happy when Kentucky and a couple of border states announced that they would be partnering on just such as initiative between themselves, because interstate trafficking such as the much publicized Florida pill pipeline is a serious problem, and in many cases leads to local drug sales.
But in truth, there has to be a national system put into place where physicians in Florida, Georgia, Wyoming or wherever can see a patient and before prescribing OxyContin ensure that this patient was not also prescribed this drug by another physician only two days before.
We realize that it is unfortunate that such a system needs to be put into place, but the alternative of allowing patients to doctor shop, and also allowing doctors with no professional morals to dish out prescriptions like candy, is hardly any alternative at all.
We applaud the legislature for their action on the KASPER mandate, and this is one area where we hope that the rest of the nation can follow Kentucky’s suit.
— The Hazard Herald