As the death toll from opioid overdoses in Kentucky and the rest of
the Midwest continues to soar, it's truly disconcerting to see that
policymakers are taking steps that are not only devoid of medical and
common sense, but virtually guaranteed to make matters worse.
The recent passage of the ill-conceived House Bill 333, which imposes
a three-day limit (with certain exceptions) on opioid prescribing,
reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the reasons behind the
All this new law will accomplish is to make matters worse for both
pain patients and addicts. The former will suffer needlessly; the
latter will die in even greater numbers.
[continues 519 words]
Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear want a Frankfort
judge to dismiss a lawsuit calling for the legalization of medical
marijuana in Kentucky.
In a motion filed Monday in Franklin Circuit Court, Bevin's attorneys
said medical marijuana is a "political question" that should be
decided by the General Assembly, not a judge.
"Since at least 2014, the legislature has debated bills advocating for
the lawful use of medicinal marijuana in every legislative session,"
attorney Barry Dunn wrote for the governor's office. "The General
Assembly will consider legalizing medicinal marijuana again in the
2018 session. It is solely within the General Assembly's
constitutional powers to determine whether to make medicinal marijuana
[continues 534 words]
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Saying its time has come, state Sen. Morgan McGarvey
on Wednesday called on the legislature to consider legalizing medical
marijuana to relieve pain and suffering of terminally ill people.
"It's 2017," McGarvey, a Louisville Democrat, told members of the
joint House-Senate Health and Welfare Committee. "I think it's time we
had a conversation about medical marijuana without
Members of the committee took no action on legislation McGarvey is
proposing for the 2018 legislative session but no one spoke against
the proposal and some committee members spoke in favor of the measure
that went nowhere in the past two legislative sessions.
[continues 676 words]
Like most of small town America, Southern Indiana was unprepared for the
That's what Sam Quinones said, who is an expert on the roots of America's
heroin and prescription drug crisis.
"It's bad all over the country, but I would say it's probably particularly
unkempt in areas such as Southern Indiana," he said.
Smaller towns "never had to deal with the issues that come along with
opiate addiction like how hard it is to kick, all the ancillary effects of
having an addict in the family, aE& the lying, the destruction of family
[continues 820 words]
One woman relied on old needles used by her friend's diabetic husband.
Another settled for whatever syringes she could find.
But for the first time since they started using drugs several years ago,
both women have access to fresh syringes. They are getting them through a
needle exchange in Frankfort.
"If you can have a new one every time, why wouldn't you?" asked the
younger of the two women, who both spoke to the CJ on condition of
anonymity for fear of being stigmatized or getting fired. "I think it's
awesome that they're doing this.
[continues 1730 words]
A partnership that's working to fight drug addiction in eastern Kentucky
has received a $100,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission,
Republican Rep. Hal Rogers announced Thursday.
Operation UNITE, which operates in 32 counties in southern and eastern
Kentucky, was founded in 2003 by Rogers to deal with what was at the time
primarily an epidemic of addiction to prescription painkillers.
Kentucky's Appalachian counties have since seen a surge in overdoses from
heroin, as well as opioid painkillers. The competitive grant includes
$50,000 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
[continues 123 words]
A year ago, I woke in the night with pain so severe I was crying before I
was fully aware what was going on. A 50-year-old cop sobbed like a child
in the dark. It was a ruptured disc and related nerve damage. Within a
couple of months, it became so severe that I could no longer walk or
stand. An MRI later, my surgeon soothingly told me it would all be OK. A
nurse practitioner handed me a prescription for painkillers -- 180
tablets, 90 each of oxycodone and hydrocodone.
[continues 656 words]
The days-old newborn shook and screamed, his tiny chest fluttering with
rapid breaths. Even his mother's arms couldn't soothe him.
Withdrawal from heroin was Jordan Barkley's first experience of the world.
His mom, Amy Kalber, shot up every day for most of her pregnancy. The
drugs coursing through her body sickened Jordan, who spent seven weeks in
neonatal intensive care, suffering from diarrhea and tremors, sucking on
morphine as he weaned off the heroin.
"It breaks my heart. It really does," said Kalber, 33, who is now in
recovery. "I just couldn't stop. With heroin, you have to do it. You have
to get it. It doesn't stop."
[continues 1287 words]
Tiffany Wigginton Carnal is in the fight of her life to save her daughter.
Lyndi Carnal, 17, has Crohn's Disease, an inflammatory bowel disease that
causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract, which can lead
to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition.
Lyndi was diagnosed when she was 14. Since that time, she and her mother
have spent three Christmases, three New Year's Days and countless other
days at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
The medications Lyndi has taken to control the Crohn's and subsequent pain
have negatively impacted her heart, kidneys and liver. Lyndi has also had
her colon and rectum removed. The medications to control the pain keep
Lyndi sedated and unable to function. One of her medications, Dilaudid, is
a strong opiate that can be addictive.
[continues 464 words]
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say officers in Cincinnati
intercepted more than 50 pounds of methamphetamine that was concealed
inside a statue of a snail.
Authorities say the package, which came from Mexico and was labeled
"Mexican stone crafts," contained a decorative snail statue that exhibited
"interior anomalies" during an X-ray inspection on Dec. 30.
Customs officers drilled a hole into the statue and found 53 pounds of a
white crystalline powder that tested positive for meth.
Richard Gillespie, CBP's Cincinnati Port Director, says the agency's
officers excel at preventing dangerous packages from reaching innocent
The snail's intended destination was Lawrenceville, Georgia.
'It's A Mess.'
Nicholasville experienced a surge in heroin overdoses Monday and Tuesday,
said Aaron Stamper, chief of Jessamine County Emergency Services.
"It's a mess right now," Stamper said shortly before 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.
"We've had five overdoses in the last eight hours, and I think in the last
24 hours, we've had nine overdoses."
There was one suspected drug overdose death Saturday, but the overdoses
that happened Monday and Tuesday did not result in death, said Jessamine
County Coroner Mike Hughes.
[continues 180 words]
Backers of marijuana legalization on Monday stepped up their pressure on
the U.S. Senate to block the confirmation of Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff
Sessions as the next attorney general.
Sessions, a staunch opponent of legalization, angered proponents in April
when he called pot "dangerous" and said that "good people don't smoke
Marijuana backers want the issue aired Tuesday when the Senate Judiciary
Committee begins Sessions' confirmation hearing.
"It's a national thing: This hearing is make or break for the marijuana
folks," said Adam Eidinger, who heads a pro-legalization group in
Washington, D.C., called DCMJ.
[continues 796 words]
Growing up, Evan Blessett was as an avid soccer player and honor roll
student. He loved skateboarding and played the drums later in his teen
But one role that his dad, Doug, never thought his son would play was one
of a recovering drug addict.
"The thing that gets me is he got past us," Doug Blessett said about his
29-year-old son, who is a counselor at The Healing Place, an addiction
recovery center in Louisville. "When my son went through this, I took it
personally. You think you would see it, and I didn't."
[continues 1428 words]
Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali didn't back down from a fight and also stood
up for underdogs. So it's fitting that his center will house this year's
annual event focused on battling drug addiction.
Recovery from heroin and other drug addiction can take years and many
stints in rehab, but it is possible - the central message of hope is the
theme of Recovery Rally 2016, a free event from noon-2:30 p.m., Saturday
at the Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N. 6th St.
[continues 149 words]
Dr. James Patrick Murphy, a nationally-recognized pain medicine
specialist, balances guidelines meant to lessen the risks of addiction
with a patient's need for pain relief, examines Marta D. Thomas of Old
Louisville. Thomas is a volunteer at Kosair Pediatric Convalescent Center
and receives radiofrequency lesioning (which melts the covers off nerves
so they don't transmit pain for 4-6 months.) 27 October 2016(Photo: David
R. Lutman/Special to The C)
Cattle farmer Marquis Smith is in pain, but he doesn't get sick leave.
[continues 1207 words]
Tara Moseley was in her early 20s, homeless and addicted to opioids for
nearly a year when she walked into The Healing Place in Louisville.
Her drinking had escalated after high school and she had stopped going to
class two weeks into college. A broken leg led to a five-month opioid
prescription and that led to a physical dependence on pain pills. When
pills became scarce on the street, she switched to heroin.
She needed a bed the day she showed up at The Healing Place and agreed to
go through detox. After that, when the staff suggested she try their
residential recovery program, she said yes.
[continues 962 words]
Ismael Gonzalez-Gonzalez was supposed to be deported nine years ago,
but Cuba wouldn't take him.
Instead, he wound up in Louisville and, police say, emerged as a local
boss directing the flow of drugs in the Louisville area and beyond for
a Mexican cartel.
It's unclear how Gonzalez, a convicted felon who was arrested in a
surprise drug raid last summer, first entered the United States before
he ended up in Louisville, where he settled into a house in
Jeffersontown. Many details about his case remain hidden in sealed
federal court records.
[continues 769 words]
After over a year of waiting for a needle exchange, the Clark County
Health Department will open its syringe exchange at the end of January.
The needle exchange, located at 1301 Akers Ave. in Jeffersonville, will
start Jan. 26 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and be open each Thursday from then
on. Dr. Kevin Burke, the Clark County health commissioner, said he hopes
the program will eventually provide services two days a week and operate
the needle exchange at other locations.
[continues 625 words]
Clouded by controversies surrounding the recreational use of pot and a
common view that it is a gateway to more serious drug abuse and addiction,
medical applications of marijuana are not clearly understood.
Based on the reams of disclaimers included with every prescription, all
forms of medicine have some unwanted -- and potentially harmful -- side
effects. Certainly, marijuana will not be the exception.
But it's hard to collect facts when research is not being conducted.
The federal Food and Drug Administration requires scientific clinical
trials involving thousands of patients to determine the benefits and risks
of any possible medication. So far, researchers have not conducted enough
large-scale clinical trials to determine if the benefits of the marijuana
plant outweigh its risks in patients it is meant to treat, according to
the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
[continues 505 words]
A Kenton County jury recommended a 38-year sentence last week for a
Covington man who sold heroin five times to a confidential informant
with the Covington Police Department, according to the prosecutor's
Donte Little will be 72 years old when he's released if he serves the
full sentence. The 33-year-old was convicted of four counts of
trafficking in a controlled substance and one count of complicity to
trafficking in a controlled substance.
The Covington Police Department's narcotics unit, known as the "D
Team," purchased more than 14 grams of heroin from Little on five
different days during the fall of 2014, prosecutors said.
Investigators testified video and audio recordings were made of the
transactions, which totaled more than $2,300.
[continues 210 words]
And so another session of the Kentucky Assembly comes to an end
without passage of a comprehensive cannabis bill. State Senator John
Schickel assured the 75 percent of our citizens who are supporters of
cannabis law reform that there would be hearings in the interim and
something might get done next year. That's interesting because it's
the same thing they have been told for the last five years!
One wonders, with 23 states and the District of Columbia having
medical cannabis laws, and four states and D.C. having passed
recreational cannabis laws, exactly what could possibly be learned
from hearings in the interim that haven't already been brought
forward? There have been dozens of hearings right here in Kentucky
over the last five years. I doubt if our legislators will find
anything new on this subject.
[continues 360 words]
Recently I read a national article about a medical team that looked
the other way while a patient was smoking marijuana in the bathroom.
On a closer reading of the article, the medical case was from over 20
years ago. First mistake: not doing the math (we'll get to this in a
minute). Second mistake: concluding that the answer is "medical" marijuana.
Did you know that the two major compounds that are medicinal in
marijuana are already 100 percent legal here in Kentucky?
[continues 557 words]
In a recent op-ed piece, Frank Rapier, the director of the Appalachia
High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area based in London, made a few
statements that I think a great deal of Kentucky residents should
take issue with.
Rapier begins his column by claiming that the push for marijuana is
propagated by corporations that make money off its sale.
I would say that is completely true; but to view that in a negative
light is overtly hypocritical.
Both our state and federal governments are heavily influenced by
special-interest monies. Rapier's job is to help aid the state in the
government's war on drugs. A war that, in 2014, led to the arrest of
seven times the number of people for possession of marijuana than for
distribution or trafficking.
[continues 552 words]
Big Business, Not Public Safety, Is the Goal
In Colorado, Teen Pot Use Has Increased
Only a Fraction of Prisoners Convicted for Possession
In response to the column, "Stop waste of money, lives in
criminalizing pot," let me say that I agree with Sen. Perry B. Clark
on one point: America is being bamboozled.
We are being bamboozled by Big Marijuana.
For several years now, we have witnessed a highly financed, deceptive
campaign to legalize marijuana. It started with the premise that
marijuana is medicine. Marijuana may contain medical components, but
so does opium. We don't smoke opium to get the pain-killing effects
of morphine. How could you dose smoked marijuana?
[continues 341 words]
FRANKFORT, Ky. - Kentucky's evolving battle with drug abuse will
continue into the 2016 General Assembly as lawmakers intensify
efforts against synthetic drugs that can slip into communities via
the Internet, wreaking sudden havoc.
The legislature has enacted at least four bills targeting synthetics
since 2010 and is seeking to amp up penalties for traffickers next
year following an outbreak in Lewis County of the toxic synthetic
drug called "flakka."
"They are no less dangerous than anything else out there, and in many
cases, more dangerous," said Van Ingram, head of the state Office of
Drug Control Policy. "It seems to pop up in a certain community and
makes a run for a short time. Then it fizzles out there and shows up
[continues 1242 words]