This week, the Office of the Attorney General received great news regarding our case against Purdue Pharma. A judge ruled that the pharmaceutical company will have to face a jury in Pike County for allegedly lying about the addictive nature of OxyContin and helping fuel a prescription pill epidemic that has devastated our state. Previously, the company filed a motion to change the venue of the case from Pike County to Franklin County, which I opposed.
The judge also ruled to admit a considerable amount of evidence against Purdue, including information that the company knew OxyContin was being abused and diverted from its intended use. I am very appreciative of the court’s careful consideration on this, and I look forward to the day when Purdue faces a Pike County jury and answers for its conduct.
You can learn more about these two key rulings here.
Meanwhile, our ongoing effort to raise awareness about prescription drug abuse is the focus of my latest monthly column. In September, my office, along with the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI), the Prosecutors Advisory Council, and two concerned parents, unveiled the details of two $1500 scholarships for eligible students whose families have been adversely affected by prescription drug abuse.
The scholarships are in memory of 19-year-old Sarah Shay and 24-year-old Michael Donta. Shay, of Morehead, Ky., died of a prescription drug overdose in 2006. Donta, of Ashland, Ky., lost his battle with prescription painkiller abuse in 2010. Sarah and Michael’s parents, Dr. Karen Shay and Mike Donta, now travel with me across the state as part of our Keep Kentucky Kids Safe initiative to warn middle and high school students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. To date, we've presented our message to more than 25,000 students, parents and teachers. It is inspiring to see the passion both Karen and Mike have for reaching out and speaking to our students about this important issue. Scholarship applications are available here.
While visiting the website, middle and high school students can learn how to get involved in our annual video PSA competition. As part of the competition, students produce a 30-second video showing the risks of prescription drug abuse, and the winners receive great prizes donated by NADDI and the Kentucky Pharmacists Association. I’m really looking forward to seeing all of the creative and informative videos that will be produced.
I hope you will also take a moment to check out our monthly newsletter. It was just posted this week and highlights more of the great work my office accomplished in September.
Additionally, I encourage you to keep up with the latest news from our office on via Facebook and Twitter. Visiting our social media pages is one of the best ways for you to know what’s happening in the Office of the Attorney General.
On Monday morning, I will be catching up with my radio friends at WLGC in Ashland and WTTL in Madisonville. If you’re in one of those areas, be sure to listen in! Have a great weekend.