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Senate Approves KASPER Expansion


Both Houses of Kentucky's General Assembly are backing legislation that would expand the scope of the state’s prescription reporting system. Proponents say the change would help in the fight to combat opioid drug problems.

The measure would expand information coming to the state’s Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting system or KASPER. It would require certain hospitals to report positive toxicology screens and permit doctors or pharmacists to review KASPER reports of birth mothers of potentially drug-exposed infants.

Paducah Senator Danny Carroll told his colleagues more is needed to deal with drug issues today.

“Everybody realizes where we are right now with the opioid epidemic in our state, and our physicians need every tool that’s available to them,” Carroll said.

Pike County Senator Ray Jones voted "yes," but expressed reservations.

“And we have gone so far with our efforts to curb prescription drug abuse so that now we’re seeing patients with legitimate medical problems who can’t get the treatment that they need,” Jones said.

Grayson Senator Robin Webb questioned reporting all positive toxicology screens performed at a hospital emergency department to evaluate a patient’s suspected drug overdose. The eastern Kentucky lawmaker said the language may be overly broad.

Louisville Senator Julie Raque Adams says it’s reasonable to update the KASPER system. She said there are people gaming the prescription process which can contribute to overdoses.

The bill now goes back to the House for consideration of changes.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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