PAINTSVILLE – Medical professionals are invited to attend a free training on prescription drug abuse and diversion on Saturday, April 27, at the Ramada Inn in Paintsville.

The free symposium provides information about new state reporting requirements, the importance of understanding addiction, and presents ideas to help providers effectively treat pain while reducing the risk for abuse.

Nearly 120 medical professionals attended the first of four free symposia held April 13 on the campus of Morehead State University. Other forums are scheduled for May 11 at the Holiday Inn University Plaza Sloan Convention Center in Bowling Green and June 8 at the Eastern Kentucky University Center in Manchester.

“Addiction is a common disease (that) … carries much misunderstanding and stigma,” said Dr. Greg Jones, medical director for the Kentucky Physicians Health Foundation, one of three presenters at the forum. “As health care professionals, this is an opportunity for us to begin to be part of the solution.”

These “Kentucky Medical Communities UNITEd” forums – presented by the Appalachian Regional Commission, Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, Kentucky Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Midwives, and Operation UNITE – begin with registration and a continental breakfast at 8:30 am and conclude at 3:00 pm. Lunch is included.

Participants in the training forums are eligible to receive 4.5 continuing education credit hours for physicians, physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, dentists, dental hygienists, pharmacists, social workers, Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors, Psychologists and Certified Health Education Specialists.

Much of the forum focuses on understanding the Kentucky All-Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting (KASPER) system and new regulations enacted by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2012 (known as House Bill 1 or “The Pill Mill Bill”) that require prescribers and dispensers to utilize the system.

“This is not a war on doctors,” said C. Lloyd Vest II, general counsel for the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure, another of the symposium’s presenters. “This is about the quality of patient care … and whether you are creating a risk of drug abuse or diversion.”

These trainings have been approved by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure, Kentucky Board of Nursing, and Certified Health Education Specialists as meeting statutory requirements imposed by House Bill 1.

Dave Hopkins, KASPER Program Manager within the Kentucky Office of Inspector General, noted that, with a few exceptions carved out during the 2013 General Assembly, anyone licensed to prescribe or dispense controlled substances to individuals must report to KASPER.

Starting July 1, these reports must be made within one business day, Hopkins said. “Our data will become much more timely.”

Dr. Jones, who said he has “lived this thing on both sides,” attempted to alleviate concern about the new regulations.

“This is a law that causes you to stop and think (before prescribing),” Jones said, noting the medical profession was in a position to self-police itself but failed to do so. “The public gave us an opportunity to straighten up this prescribing mess and we didn’t do it.”

“This law is going to be workable,” Jones added. “If you’re out there practicing in the right manner and for the right reasons it’s not going to be a problem.”

The forums are moderated by Van Ingram, executive director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy.

While there is no charge to attend, registration is required. Complete symposia information and on-line registration is available at or you may call 859-257-5320 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.

To view photos from the Morehead symposium click here.