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Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear put his support this week behind several bills designed to fight prescription drug abuse. “If there ever was a Kentucky issue, this is it,” he said at a news conference on Monday.

Governor Beshear was accompanied by Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, legislators from both parties, and medical and law enforcement officials, according to The Courier-Journal. “In a nutshell, prescription drug abuse is wasting away the future of the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” the governor said.

One bill under consideration by the Kentucky House would require doctors who prescribe narcotic painkillers to use the state’s prescription drug monitoring system. It also would require pain clinics be owned by licensed practitioners, and would bar those whose licenses have been suspended or surrendered in other states from receiving a Kentucky license.

A bill being considered by the state Senate would require that all pain clinics be licensed, specify requirements for ownership and employment, and oblige Kentucky’s licensure board to develop regulations for pain clinics.

Prescription drug abuse kills almost 1,000 state residents a year, the article notes.

Less than one-third of prescribers had accounts for the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting system, or KASPER, in 2010, according to the newspaper.

The pipeline of prescription painkillers from Florida to Kentucky has started to close off, the attorneys general of both states announced last month. They attributed the slowdown in illegal pill trafficking to new rules and programs in Florida, coupled with increased enforcement in both states.

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