Kentucky Launches New Study of State’s Prescription Drug Crisis


Kentucky officials are launching a yearlong study to find out whether the state's controversial new laws cracking down on prescription drug abuse are making a difference in curbing one of the nation's worst pain-pill epidemics, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal. The University of Kentucky study will look at measures such as changes in prescribing patterns, prescription drug-related deaths and emergency room visits, patient behavior and the impact on drug-treatment centers.

Researchers will survey doctors, dentists and other prescribers and interview licensing boards, and also examine state health data and publicly available statistics on morbidity and mortality, such as hospital discharges, deaths and admissions to substance abuse treatment facilities. The Courier-Journal has chronicled the devastation wrought by prescription drug abuse in a two-year series that showed that the pill addiction kills nearly 1,000 Kentuckians a year and contributes to a skyrocketing increase in hospitalizations for newborns suffering withdrawal because of their mothers' addictions.

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