February 15

Mike DontaThere is no greater pain than that of a parent who has lost a child. Because of the epidemic of prescription drug abuse, far too many Kentucky parents have endured this heartache. Many, like my friend Mike Donta of Ashland, Ky., have courageously stepped forward to share their stories. Mike's son lost his three-year battle with prescription drug addiction in 2010. Since then, Mike has traveled with me through our Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program to warn middle and high school students about the dangers of abusing prescription pills.

Mike Donta also shares his son's story in a video we posted as part of our "Faces of Prescription Drug Abuse" video series. We posted the video on what would have been his son's 27th birthday. I encourage you to take a few moments to listen to Mike's story. And if you or your family has been affected by prescription drug abuse, please share your story. Videos may be submitted as a "video response" to any of our "Faces of Prescription Drug Abuse" clips, which can be viewed on our Prescription Drug Abuse page.

I announced a $12 million multi-state settlement with Victory Pharma earlier this week. The settlement resolves allegations Victory Pharma provided illegal kickbacks to health care professionals to induce them to prescribe four of its drugs. Under the settlement, the Kentucky Medicaid program will receive more than $426,000. Please see our press release for more information.

I am proud of the work my Medicaid Fraud Unit is doing to protect taxpayers and consumers from drug companies that engage in these types of illegal business practices. Since 2008, we've recovered or been awarded nearly $300 million for the state and federal Medicaid programs and last year we were named one of the most aggressive Medicaid Fraud Unit's in the country.

The hard work of my Office of Special Prosecutions resulted in the maximum sentence for a Marshall County man during his retrial on murder and arson charges. A Trigg County jury recommended life in prison without the possibility of parole for 42-year-old George Luna in the 2007 beating death of Debra Hendrickson of Benton, Ky. I hope this verdict brings some measure of comfort and closure to the victim's loved ones. More information is available in our press release.