March 1

 Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and I had the privilege of moderating a panel discussion on the Prescription Pill Epidemic as part of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) meeting this week in Washington, D.C.  General Bondi and I co-chair NAAG’s Substance Abuse Committee and have worked closely in our fight against a problem that kills more than 1,000 Kentuckians each year.  Florida loses seven people a day to prescription drug overdoses. General Bondi’s commitment to this issue and to cracking down on the illegal pill mills in her state has quite literally saved lives in Kentucky.   
 It was gratifying to share some of the progress we’ve made here in the Commonwealth combatting prescription drug abuse through increased law enforcement initiatives, legislation and awareness; however, we must remain vigilant.  New national statistics, according to our nation’s drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, show that drug overdose deaths increased for the eleventh consecutive year in 2010, the latest year for which we have data. I appreciate Director Kerlikowske taking time to participate in our panel discussion and am grateful for all he is doing to combat this scourge.   A video from the panel discussion is available online at http://www.naag.org/2013-winterspring-meeting-videos.php .
Yesterday’s vote by Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a victory for women, families and communities across Kentucky and the nation.   This important legislation has brought the issue of domestic violence out of the shadows and served as an invaluable tool for those of us who investigate, prosecute and work every day to prevent domestic violence deaths.   
Indiana’s Attorney General Greg Zoeller and I launched the fifth annual March Against Hunger food drive competition in Louisville yesterday.  This is a friendly competition that challenges attorneys and law firms on both sides of the river to donate goods and raise money for regional food banks. Since 2009, March Against Hunger participants have donated more than 34,100 pounds of food and raised more than $127,000.
I hope Kentuckians will step up to the plate and help stock the shelves of our food banks that serve as a lifeline for struggling families.   For more information, please see our press release or visit www.marchagainsthunger.org.
As General Zoeller and I remarked during yesterday’s press conference, this weekend marks a painful anniversary for our two states.  Saturday is the one-year anniversary of the deadly tornadoes that ripped across Southern Indiana and Kentucky.  Please keep in your thoughts and prayers the families who lost so much on that day.