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Tweaks to prescription drug law get initial OK

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 25, 2013 at 6:33 pm •  Published: February 25, 2013

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Patients in hospitals, nursing homes and hospice centers could soon be exempted from rules intended to make it more difficult for addicts to get painkillers in Kentucky.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 15-0 on Monday to approve changes to a year-old law that was intended to crack down on widespread prescription drug abuse in a state where more people are dying from overdoses than car crashes.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said the law had unintended consequences that made the seriously ill and the elderly subject to the same level of scrutiny as would-be prescription drug traffickers.

"We have exempted hospitals and long-term care facilities from the requirements because we know that patients who are admitted to these facilities are not likely to divert drugs during their stay," Stumbo said.

The bill also gives surgery patients with a 14-day exemption.

"We know that pain management during this time is critical," Stumbo said.

Special allowances are also made for hospice and end-of-life treatment, cancer patients, those who react adversely to a prescription and require a substitute medicine, and those engaged in federally authorized research projects.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said he is OK with the tweaks that Stumbo outlined on Monday.

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