By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT – Just a few days after a new state law went into effect to crack down on Kentucky’s increasing problem with prescription drug abuse, four “pain management clinics” in the state already have notified the state that they cannot comply with the new law and will close, Gov. Steve Beshear said Tuesday.
Beshear also said another nine of the clinics have not applied for a state license. “They will be investigated to see if they are operating illegally.”
The Democratic governor declined to identify the clinics but Attorney General Jack Conway said two of the four that are closing have had past experience with law enforcement officials. He did not elaborate.
Beshear noted the clinics during a Capitol news conference to report that House Bill 1, which state lawmakers approved this year and he signed into law, already is producing results in fighting the scourge of prescription drug abuse.
Nearly 1,000 Kentuckians die every year from drug overdoes – an annual fatality rate that exceeds deaths from car accidents, according to Kentucky’s Drug Control Policy Office.
The new law requires all prescription providers to register with a state monitoring system called KASPER – Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting. It also requires pain management clinics to be owned by a licensed medical practitioner and professional licensure boards to investigate immediately prescribing complaints.
Since the law was approved in April, more than 9,000 medical providers, mostly doctors, have signed up for electronic prescription monitoring — more than doubling the number registered. It took effect July 20.