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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Associated Press Published: April 25, 2012

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Katina Morgan's descent into drug dependency began in her mother's medicine cabinet, where she uncapped supplies of painkillers and anti-anxiety medicine as a teenager.

She started popping one or two pills at a time but within a month was taking half-dozen at once. She was hooked, and her addiction eventually spread to the powerful painkiller OxyContin and the stimulant known as meth.

Two stays in prison followed for drug convictions, but now the 32-year-old mother of two is trying to get her life back on track at a Louisville substance abuse treatment center. And she urges people to avoid the temptations lurking in the bathrooms of family or friends.

"Don't do it, not even once, because for me that's all it took," she said.

For people on the front lines in the fight against prescription pill abuse, it comes as no surprise that a nationwide analysis points to the homes of relatives or friends as key sources for people to start misusing powerful painkillers.

"Drugs left in home medicine cabinets are prime targets for prescription drug abuse," Michele Leonhart, administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said in a conference call Wednesday.


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky must either switch to a single drug to perform executions within 90 days or prepare to go to trial on the claims of death row inmates challenging the state's three-drug method of carrying out capital punishment, a judge ruled Wednesday.

In a long-awaited order, Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd wrote that the state's three-drug method may no longer be necessary now that other states have successfully used a single drug to execute condemned inmates and shown that "well-established alternatives" exist for Kentucky.

The ruling comes about 20 months after Shepherd halted all executions in Kentucky. He imposed the ban after inmates challenged the three-drug method. Their lawsuit asked whether the state's rules for carrying out a lethal injection prohibited the use of a single drug and if there were adequate safeguards against executing a mentally ill inmate.

If Kentucky sticks with a three-drug method, Shepherd wrote, the challenge by the inmates will be allowed to go to trial. If Kentucky adopts a new regulation allowing for a one-drug execution, similar to what is done in Arizona, Ohio and other states, any claims of cruel and unusual punishment by the inmates "will be rendered moot."

Shepherd's ruling comes just months after the American Bar Association issued a report calling for a moratorium on executions in Kentucky, in part, because of the number of cases overturned since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976.

Shelley Catherine Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Attorney General's Office, said the order is being reviewed and the Department of Corrections will be consulted in "the near future."


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky mother of three who urges parents to get more involved in schools is scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House.

Myrdin (MEER'-dihn) Thompson of Louisville is one of a dozen people from across the country meeting with Obama on Thursday to mark the one-year anniversary of his White House Champions of Change program that recognizes community leaders. She was named to the program last year for her volunteer work in public schools.

Thompson has three children in the Jefferson County public school system. She has been a volunteer and advocate since 2002 and served as president of the state's largest PTA district.

"I would say to the President, help me in my work so that more families are involved in their child's educational experience in order to create stronger communities of learning and excellence for all students," she said in an email Wednesday. "All parents and families have something to contribute, we just have to be willing to acknowledge that and work towards creating better partnerships so that all children succeed."

She said when she told her children about her visit, her 6-year-old daughter wondered if she would get to meet Bo, the Obamas' dog.


MANCHESTER, Ky. (AP) — Police in eastern Kentucky say a Clay County official has killed himself after stabbing his wife several times.

Clay County Coroner Danny Finley told the Lexington Herald-Leader ( ) that 51-year-old Magistrate James "Jimbo" Lyttle died of a gunshot to the head from a .38-caliber revolver.

Manchester Police Chief Chris Fultz says 47-year-old Sharon Lyttle was taken to University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center after the attack Wednesday at the couple's home. Fultz says the reason for the incident is unknown.

Fultz says Sharon Lyttle told emergency workers that her husband had stabbed her. Authorities say he shot himself in an outbuilding.

Lyttle was in his first term as magistrate. Finley says he was well-liked, had worked for the county school system and owned a convenience store with relatives.



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