New KY Drug Law Prompts Pain Clinic Closures, Fewer Prescriptions


Kentucky's new prescription drug law is helping run off pill mills and slowing the epidemic of prescription drug abuse across the state, say Gov. Steve Beshear and other state officials, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal. The Beshear administration released data showing that since the law took effect July 20, 10 pain management clinics have closed, prescriptions are declining for some of the most abused controlled substances, and more disciplinary actions have been taken against doctors for prescription violations.

The law is the result of House Bill 1, a controversial bill from a 2012 special legislative session that increased regulations on pain clinics and required doctors to follow stricter standards — including use of the state's drug-tracking system — when prescribing drugs. Beshear said 18 of the 44 facilities identified as pain management clinics in 2012 have closed or discontinued pain services since implementation of the law. Doctors prescribed 20.9 million doses of hydrocodone in August 2011, but that amount dropped 7.5 percent in August 2012. At the same time, prescriptions for oxycodone fell 6.4 percent, while alprazolam prescriptions dropped 9 percent and oxymorphone prescriptions plummeted 38 percent.

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