Earlier this week, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and I led attorneys general from across the country in asking the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reconsider its decision to approve the high-dose narcotic painkiller Zohydro Er. In October, the FDA approved the drug against the recommendation of its advisory panel, which voted 11-2 in opposition because of the drug’s potential for misuse and its lack of an abuse-deterrent formulation. The approval of this potent drug is very troubling because, unlike extended-release opioids containing abuse-deterrent properties, there is nothing that would prevent someone from easily crushing or injecting Zohydro ER to get high. Zohydro ER has the potential to exacerbate the prescription pill epidemic in the Commonwealth and given that abuse-deterrent properties are capable of being developed and required, the FDA’s decision to approve the drug doesn’t make sense. We do not want to see the great strides we have made in Kentucky combatting prescription drug abuse reversed. You can read the letter the bipartisan coalition of attorneys general sent to the commissioner of the FDA here.
I want to also remind students that the deadline to apply for the Sarah Shay and Michael Donta Memorial Scholarships is now just one month away. In September, my office, along with the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators, the Prosecutors Advisory Council and the parents of two young overdose victims, unveiled the details of two scholarships for high school seniors whose lives have been impacted in some way by prescription drug abuse. The scholarships are $1500 each, and the money will help two young people get a fresh start and a chance at completing their college education. You can find additional information about the Sarah Shay and Michael Donta Memorial Scholarships at ag.ky.gov/rxabuse.
On Monday, I’ll be catching up with my radio friends at WLGC in Ashland, WBVR in Bowling Green, WKDZ in Cadiz, and WTTL in Madisonville. I’ll also be in Lexington to help announce how funds my office secured from the historic national mortgage foreclosure settlement will be used to help hard-working Kentuckians realize the dream of home ownership. Look for more details on that initiative next week.