Prescriptions for painkillers and doctor-shopping by pill seekers have decreased since Kentucky passed legislation targeting prescription drug abuse, according to a University of Kentucky study. The law passed during a special session in 2012 expanded the state’s prescription drug monitoring system and required pain management clinics to be owned by licensed doctors, among other initiatives. Researchers at the University of Kentucky found that overall prescriptions for the different types of controlled substances had decreased from four to eight percent since the legislation was passed. They also found that the number of opioid prescriptions to one patient from multiple prescribers (“doctor shopping”) fell by more than 50 percent and that the use of the state’s monitoring system, known as KASPER, increased from 7,500 before the legislation to 27,000. Twenty four pain management clinics have also closed around the state. The success of the law is tempered by a small increase in heroin overdose deaths across the state between 2013 and 2014, a typical occurrence after opioid prescriptions become harder to obtain.
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