We had two great Keep Kentucky Kids Safe programs yesterday in Perry and Pike counties. I am truly grateful for the incredible support our programs receive from local law enforcement and community leaders. I was particularly pleased to have Pike County Sheriff "Fuzzy" Keesee join me at Mullins Middle School. Elected to office in 1962, he is Kentucky's longest serving Sheriff.
Since I launched the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program in 2010, I've visited dozens of middle and high schools, warning more than 20,000 students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. I will never forget the students who have quietly and bravely shared with me how prescription pills have affected their families. I heard from more students yesterday, some as young as 11, and my heart continues to break for the children who are bearing the scars of this scourge.
One young boy tearfully shared with me how his mother was attacked by an addict. Another girl sat in the audience with tears in her eyes. She lost her father two weeks ago to a prescription drug overdose. These are 5th, 6th and 7th graders whose lives are forever changed. It was hard not to get choked up as I looked at the pain on so many of their faces.
As always, I am grateful for the concerned parents, like Mike Donta, who join me at these programs. It was also an honor to have Operation UNITE Vice President Dan Smoot participate in yesterday's programs.
If you have expired or unused prescription medications at home, make sure to safely dispose of them. Law enforcement across Kentucky will be collecting prescription drugs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow as part of the DEA's National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Visit http://goo.gl/YAlRp to find a collection site near you.
I enjoyed speaking this morning to nearly 200 elementary school students attending the Kentucky Junior Historical Society Conference. My parents taught me at an early age the importance of an education, a love of history, a passion for public service and a love for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
I encouraged our junior historians to explore public service. It is a chance to change the communities and world in which we live. And if they leave Kentucky someday, I hope they'll come back home to give back to a place that has given us so much.
I'd like to thank the Courier Journal Editorial Board for inviting me to sit down with them on Wednesday. I am proud of all that my staff and I have accomplished over the past five years. I hope you'll take a few minutes to watch the video.