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.

Continue reading this story on the...