My proposed budget would provide, for the first time, outpatient substance-abuse treatment in the Medicaid program for adults and adolescents. It reinvests the savings from a landmark corrections reform bill that passed last year into expanded substance-abuse treatment programs for inmates. And it includes money to enhance KASPER.
I also support legislation that will give us more tools in the fight against prescription drug abuse. A wide-ranging bill sponsored by state Speaker Greg Stumbo (D) requires all prescribers to use KASPER. It expands the sharing of prescribing information within Kentucky and outside our borders. It shuts down unregulated pain clinics and strengthens the role of the attorney general and licensing boards in investigating improprieties.
Another bill, sponsored by state Sen. Jimmy Higdon (R), focuses on pain management facilities. It would require that these clinics be licensed and that they be owned by a physician.
It’s important to note that these bills were introduced by a Democrat and a Republican, and they enjoy broad bipartisan support. In Kentucky, we have found that prescription drug abuse is not a problem that attracts political party division. Prescription abuse is a Kentucky problem, and we are all joining together as Kentuckians to address it.
I will continue to encourage Congress to consider mandatory training for those who prescribe controlled substances and to provide more federal resources to be focused on ceasing illegal prescription drug flow among states.
Kentucky is not alone in this fight. Prescription drug abuse is eating away at our communities across the country, and we must work together to protect our families and our future.
Steve Beshear is the Democratic governor of Kentucky.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.