Earlier this week, I traveled to Atlanta to attend the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit, an annual event organized by Operation UNITE. I joined hundreds of local, state and federal leaders from law enforcement and government agencies to share ideas on how we can best combat prescription drug abuse, especially here in our Commonwealth. I was also proud to discuss with attendees how my office has cracked down on unlawful prescription drug marketing in Kentucky. Since I was elected your Attorney General six years ago, my Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control has recovered or been awarded more than $260 million for the state and federal Medicaid programs as a result of lawsuits and settlements against pharmaceutical companies and individual providers. In January, I shared news of one of my proudest accomplishments when I announced that more than $32 million recovered by my office in settlements with two pharmaceutical companies would be invested in the Commonwealth to expand substance abuse treatment, including treatment for opiate addictions.
Approximately $20 million from the settlement funds has been allocated for KY Kids Recovery, a grant program created to fund comprehensive juvenile substance abuse treatment programs, both expanding treatment beds at existing facilities and creating new juvenile treatment programs. The Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory Committee, which I chair, had another very productive public meeting this afternoon at the Capitol, and we are continuing to work closely with existing providers, new providers, community partnerships and non-profits across the Commonwealth to administer, and best utilize, the settlement funds. I am committed to fighting illegal drugs in our communities, and I firmly believe our efforts are paying dividends in the lives of our children and Kentucky families.
This weekend you can help me in our fight against prescription drug abuse by emptying out your medicine cabinets and safely disposing of any unused, unwanted or expired prescription medications. Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, and prescription drug collection sites will be set up in local communities across the country. More than 70 collection sites have been designated in Kentucky as part of the initiative, which is designed to help prevent an increase in prescription drug abuse and theft. During a "Take-Back" day in October 2013, Kentuckians turned in more than 9,100 pounds of prescription drugs. These "Take-Back" events serve a critical role in making our communities safer by keeping potentially addictive and deadly prescription medications out of the wrong hands. The free service will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time, and you can search for a collection site near your community by clicking here.
Next week, I’m looking forward to catching up with radio stations from across the state taking part in the Kentucky Derby Festival’s AT&T Morning Line at the Kentucky Derby Museum. I’ll also be sharing with Louisville TV and radio stations covering Dawn at the Downs the latest news from the Office of the Attorney General.