We had a very busy week in the Office of the Attorney General!
On Monday, I was proud to announce that two high school seniors affected by prescription drug abuse will now have an opportunity for a second chance. My office, along with the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators, the Prosecutor’s Advisory Council and the parents of two young overdose victims, unveiled the details of two $1500 scholarships that eligible students can now apply for. The scholarships are in memory of 19-year-old Sarah Shay and 24-year-old Michael Donta, who both lost their lives to prescription drug overdose.
Since their passing, parents Dr. Karen Shay and Mike Donta have been instrumental in the success of our Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program. I can’t imagine the pain these two parents have lived through, but their passion for reaching out to students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse is inspiring.
In the spring, the Sarah Shay and Michael Donta Memorial Scholarships will be awarded to one young man and one young woman who have excelled in their personal and academic endeavors despite seeing firsthand the consequences of prescription drug abuse. You can learn more about the scholarships here.
Mike Donta joined me on Thursday at Shelby County High School for our second Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program of this school year. We reached around 1300 students with our message that morning! I would like to thank Superintendent James Neihof and Principal Eddie Oakley for allowing us to come speak to a great group of kids. I also appreciate Mayor Tom Hardesty, County Attorney Hart Megibben, Shelbyville Police Chief Danny Goodwin and Chief Deputy Gene Witt, of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, for supporting our efforts by taking the time to attend the program. Check out this week’s Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program at Shelby County High here.
Earlier this week, I joined Mayor Jim Gray for a wonderful announcement in Lexington. Thanks to funds my office recovered from a settlement involving a mortgage foreclosure servicing company and two of its subsidiaries, $750,000 will be spent on projects there aimed at preventing foreclosures and creating affordable housing. It is incredibly fulfilling for me to know that this money will be used to help so many families in the city.
I also enjoyed a great Commerce Lexington Policy Luncheon this week. I had the opportunity to meet with several state and local leaders to discuss a variety of issues on the minds of Kentuckians and how to best move this state forward.
One issue recently brought to the forefront involves the production of industrial hemp in Kentucky. On Wednesday, my office issued an advisory letter clarifying our state’s laws with respect to this issue in the Commonwealth. As the chief legal officer for Kentucky, it is my job to state what the law is.
I support the idea of industrial hemp farming in Kentucky, so long as our farmers receive a waiver from the federal government and law enforcement officials can enforce it. However, putting hemp seeds into Kentucky soil is simply not legal at this time.
Without question, some of our greatest assets are our Kentucky farmers, and they should be able to diversify and grow different crops. At the same time, our farmers must be protected, and they cannot be given misleading and false information about industrial hemp farming in Kentucky.