U.S. Representative Yarmuth co-sponsors bill to decriminalize cannabis oil

Posted: Sep 22, 2014 4:54 PM CST Updated: Sep 22, 2014 5:37 PM CST

By Lawrence Smith – email

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Right now, it’s against federal law to use cannabis oil – a marijuana extract – even for medical purpose, but Louisville Congressman John Yarmuth is co-sponsoring a bill that would change that.

If the bill passes, using cannabis oil for medical purposes would no longer put you in danger of landing at the federal courthouse facing drug charges.

Suzanne De Gregorio’s son, Alex, suffers from autism and epilepsy.

She believes cannabis oil can help control the seizures that have hindered his development.

"Children with epilepsy, they’re finding that it can calm the seizures," she said.

Suzanne is using cannabis oil – or CBD oil – right now to help control the after-effects of chemotherapy for breast cancer.

It’s legal because the oil imported from overseas, but Suzanne wants to see more research before trying it on her son.

"This is for me. I don’t give it to him because you really need a neurologists involvement," she said.

Kentucky has approved research into CBD oil for treatment of seizures, but the trials have stalled because the federal government still considers it a controlled substance.

For her son’s sake, De Gregorio is trying to change that.

"He’s suffered tremendously in his life. I mean the pain, the screams. You wouldn’t believe it. And I promised him when he was very little I’m going to find am answer. I’m going to make this better for you somehow, some way," she said.

Now Rep. John Yarmuth (D-3rd Dist.) has signed onto a bill being pushed by De Gregorio that would decriminalize CBD oil and hemp for medical use.

"The idea that we as a federal government have classified hemp in the same category that we classify heroin makes absolutely no sense, and it’s preventing some very, very important therapies from reaching many of our needy citizens," said Yarmuth.

The bill is called the Charlotte’s Web Act; named after a Colorado girl, Charlotte Figi, whose seizures led to development of a non-intoxicating marijuana extract.

"I believe this could be that answer. I hope it is. I want at least have the right to find out," said De Gregorio.

Yarmuth says the bill will not likely be considered until the next session of Congress. Supporters say they’ll keep pushing.

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Kentucky Senate passes bill that could make heroin traffickers face homicide charges

 

 

SB 5 passed 36-0 Thursday with Sen. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, passing.

By Kevin Wheatley, Published: January 17, 2014 10:19AM

The Senate passed a bill Thursday to combat the state’s growing heroin problem, though not without questions during a committee hearing earlier in the day on certain provisions’ constitutionality.

Senate Bill 5 passed 36-0 with Sen. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, passing.

SB 5 would require those convicted of trafficking more than 4 grams of heroin or methamphetamine to serve at least 50 percent of their prison sentence before becoming eligible for probation, parole or early release. Traffickers could be charged with homicide in cases of overdose deaths, and the bill would require coroners to report overdoses caused by Schedule I drugs, such as heroin.

“The bill targets two different groups: the trafficker, who needs to be run out of Kentucky or locked up; and the addict, who has broken the law but has created their own personal prison of addiction that is worse than any jail this state could design and needs treatment,” the bill’s sponsor, Senate President Pro Tem Katie Stine, said.

The legislation would allow the Department of Medicaid Services to expand treatment options and direct a quarter of savings realized through a corrections reform bill passed in 2011 to supplement the Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Policy.

SB 5 would also allow police officers and emergency responders to carry and administer naloxone, a drug used to counter opiate overdoses; grant immunity from drug possession charges for those seeking help for someone overdosing; and grant immunity from paraphernalia charges for those who alert law enforcement of any hypodermic needles or sharp objects in their possession before a search. Some could be given leniency for helping prosecute other drug crimes.

Kentucky Office of Drug Control Police Executive Director Van Ingram said the state has had problems with opioid addiction for years, and the heroin trend has evolved from opiate-based painkillers such as OxyContin and Opana. The numbers of heroin overdoses and confiscations have risen dramatically in recent years, he said.

“Senate Bill 5, I think, takes a broad view and it hits on a number of things, all aimed at reducing the availability of heroin, educating our citizens about heroin and some harm reduction things to try to keep people alive,” Ingram said during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“We can’t get people into treatment and we can’t get them leading productive lives if they’re gone.”

Supporters of the bill cross party lines with Stine, R-Southgate, Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, and Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway backing the measure.

The heroin issue extends beyond northern Kentucky, which supporters of SB 5 spotlight as an area of the state wracked by heroin addiction because of its close proximity to Cincinnati. Clay Mason, public safety commissioner for Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, said central Kentucky has seen a rise in heroin abuse in recent years.

“This is not a back alley drug situation from the movies of the late ’60s and early ’70s. This is anybody’s problem,” Mason told the committee. “There are many, many people who, as we’ve already heard, have gone from a pill prescription addiction problem and now rolling into heroin for a multitude of reasons — price and availability.”

Ernie Lewis, a lobbyist for the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, raised concerns about the constitutionality of certain parts of SB 5, specifically in prosecuting dealers of Schedule I substances whose drugs cause overdose deaths.

Offenders convicted of homicide or fetal homicide where the victim dies from such an overdose would not be eligible for release until serving at least half his or her sentence, under SB 5.

Lewis specifically pointed to a provision eliminating the defense that victims contributed to their deaths by willingly ingesting substances, sometimes more than the Schedule I drugs at the center of SB 5.

“Many overdose deaths occur when a person combines drugs; they combine that cocktail, unfortunately,” he said. “They may take cocaine, they may take Xanax, they may take other benzos (benzodiazepine, a psychoactive drug) or opioids. Sometimes the defendant is not even aware of that because that might have occurred earlier, because when you’re sick, you take whatever’s available to you.

“… Foreseeability has to do with the awareness of a risk. The prosecution has to prove awareness of a risk, and this provision says as a matter of law, the risk is there, we’re going to presume it, and they can’t do that under the due process of laws.”

SB 5 is meant to clarify an issue raised in a 2000 Kentucky Supreme Court decision overturning a reckless homicide conviction in which the victim died of an overdose from a mixture of cocaine and heroin, Stine and Tilley said.

“It seems to me that all that provision is doing is eliminating the ‘blame the victim’ defense, and I think we can all agree that’s not a bad thing.”

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In Honor of Richard James Rawlings 1961-2013

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Richard James Rawlings with Gatewood Galbraith in Glasgow, Kentucky 2011

The U.S. Marijuana Party, did, on February 24, 2013, loose one of its first and most influential Presidents, 

Second only to Loretta Nall, who preceded him as the first President of the USMJParty in 2002.

Richard James Rawlings took the head of the table in 2005 after Ms. Nall’s resignation.

He actively ran for Congress in Peoria Illinois several times.  He promoted many legalization activities in the Peoria area of Illinois and attended many more events in various states until he began to become ill in 2009-10.

It was not until July of 2012 that he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Throat, Lung and Adrenal Cancer.

At the age of 51, he died peacefully at his mother’s home where we had resided since shortly after his hospitalization in Glasgow Kentucky for two weeks in July 2012 where he received the diagnosis and the surgery for the trach which he would continue to wear until the night of his death when I removed it. 

All of his family were with him almost constantly during the last two weeks.  And I am forever grateful to them for all their support to me during this most difficult time.

His death broke my Heart.  We were not only coworkers, friends and companions – we were lovers and partners.

He will never be forgotten by me and I know the same sentiment holds true with all of his family, friends and followers.

May what he stood for never be forgotten:  Repeal of Hemp/Marijuana/Cannabis Laws at best or Legalization at least.

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May He Rest In Peace

Sheree Krider

 

OPEN Letter to Ohio Legislators and Washington DC

 

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by Tonya Davis on Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 9:33pm ·

Lawmakers… Please don’t let me die knowing that this plant could have saved me and you denied the same access as 18 states and DC as well as the 4 federal patients. You can stand up for me and many folks like me..

(I just want to say thank you for reposting my Open Letter Note.)

Come on Obama Administration… I need access to the whole plant of cannabis. I do not buy …. sell or grow… I should have the right to grow it like tomatoes for my medicine. I should be able to use its oils and juice its leaf or eat is raw. or smoke a joint whichever I need at the time.End marijuana Prohibition TODAY!!! and also SAVE Americans at the same time. This plant is the only thing that could save my life. Facebooker’s will you share this everywhere please.

This is an open letter to my Ohio legislators.

I have nowhere else to turn. I hope you hear my cries for help and I hope you stand up for me. Representative Bobby Hagan will be  Re introducing the Ohio medical compassion act which I hope you will consider cosponsoring  in January 2013.

It would merely allow Ohio’s doctors and patients to decide whether or not medical cannabis could benefit them or not. It would allow the department of health to keep an eye on the program and make sure there were no abuses. Anyone that is in the program would be in a database so that you can keep track of this act of compassion.

We also believe that it would save Ohio taxpayers millions of dollars by not arresting, incarcerating  and prosecuting folks for making a choice using cannabis as medicine. we also believe that the Obama administration would not bother our program because there would not be storefronts or dispensaries selling the product.

Over 73% of Ohioans support the compassionate use of marijuana..I am not sure you are aware but our sister state of Michigan has a medical cannabis program. We believe that we should have the same rights as those folks  just across our border.

Also Colorado and Washington just legalized marijuana for personal use.

My name is Tonya Davis and I’m your constituent. I am a mother, grandmother, sister, daughter. I could be your neighbor, friend, coworker. You have seen me at the Ohio Statehouse over the last decade in a suit rolling around in my wheelchair trying to bring your attention to alternative medication that is actually safer than aspirin. Yes I’m talking about medical cannabis and this has been my choice of medicine. For a long time you said to me to "bring in a doctor that supports this issue" I have!  you have said "bring in the science that supports cannabis as medicine" I have.. You have said " get a Republican on board" WE HAVE… we have jumped through the hoops that you have asked us to jump through.

We have a certified petition for the Ohio alternative treatment amendment that was certified by the SOS and the AG October of last year. We currently have house Bill 214  that is being ignored in the health committee because our speaker of the house refuses to give it a hearing. Now I’m asking you to save my life.

My whole life I have begged for help no one ever hears me. I will be heard this time because  this is my life I’m fighting for and I’m going to die on my terms.

Our government knows that cannabis is a medicine and that it is a neuro protective and antioxidant. they have  patents on it.  I am literally fighting for my life and my independence as well as tryin to keep my cognitive thinking okay.  By allowing me the same access as the 18 states plus Washington DC as well as the four patients that are currently allowed on federal level …it is not harming anyone.

I deserve that same access even though I am in the state of Ohio. I should not have to go die like a wounded animal in the woods. (going to a state that does have medical cannabis laws) where  I have no family and a support system.

I am not a drug addict, suffer from mental illness or have any type of criminal record.

I do have my Ohio doctors support , I have my pharmacist support… I have my out-of-state written recommendation from my cannabinoid specialist .  I have lived in same place for the decade ive fought for this issue. Here is a video clip of me and my cannabinoid specialist 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gP5QOvkv77Y&feature=share

My neurologist came into my hospital room and told me a year ago that there was nothing that they can do for me anymore except keep me comfortable and treat symptoms. I have massive calcium deposits on my brain. I have pseudo-hypo parathyroidism which has completely disabled me and caused major medical problems such as crippling arthritis ,diseased esophagus, hiatal hernia ….inflamed bowel disease with adhesions wrapped around it…. severe hypocalcaemia…. very high phosphorous..  my blood pressure is all over the map … my heart rate is through the roof. All of this can be proven and backed up. Will you do the right thing and support compassion not corruption?

My future is bleak but I have an opportunity to change things and to protect what brain that is not damaged yet.  and most importantly die on my terms.

I CHALLENGE YOU TO SEND THIS TO ALL YOUR COLLEAGUES IN WASHINGTON.

ADDITIONALLY, MS. DAVIS WROTE THE FOLLOWING…..

If anything happens to me I blame my government for not allowing me the same access as my sister state Michigan or the other 17 states and DC …. I want my President to open his heart and allow me to fight for what life I have left with dignity and feel like I belong in this world as well. No ones ever heard me. As a child being abused and molested raped …I tried to tell anyone that would listen I was not heard or protected from age 5 to 12 when someone believed me I was removed to an orphanage. This is just the beginning of how my life spirals I am asking you remove sick people out of this drug war. I can not understand for the life of me how you can do anything you want to smoke a lot of pot do not get caught and you can be president of the United States. But If you do get caught with one joint it can ruin your life. Can we use common sense for drug policy when it comes to cannabis? why can the sister state Michigan get compassion and we don’t? I could go on about my life and I will but not right now. So as you can see there is a way you can save me. If our doctors are smarter now which I believe they are. They are licensed in the state of Ohio… We trust them to write prescriptions / with our lives in their hands anyway why can’t we trust them on determining whether or not their patient can benefit from the use of cannabis as a medicine? DEA will still have their work because people will still break the law. let our law-enforcement get real bad guys those committing domestic violence, violent crimes, home invasions harder drug addictions anything where there is a victim. There has to be a middle ground. I am tired of feeling like I’m a criminal and I don’t deserve to have to live in fear. It is the worst feeling ever. Let me know what you think on the subject. President Obama you are the one president that could change my life forever. What harm does it cause to allow someone like me to use cannabis as a medicine? I should be allowed to use that plant in any form. You could be America’s hero you could be my hero. Please read my open letter to share with your friends I would like you to care enough to stand with me. You all know this drug war is a lie? Have a lot to say tonight. I also want to say I am watching my friends die off one by one and I’m ready when father God calls me home… I don’t have to die right away I believe that with all my heart. Okay I’m done for a while… I may continue my talk if my community is watching ,thank you for being tolerant of me. You guys gave me my voice. Some day you will hear my whole story my life didn’t change until my mid-30s. It’s been a vicious cycle of domestic violence rape home invasion theft..even kidnapping my life has been a nightmare. No one has ever heard me I always fell before things changed. my life is make life movie. I would call it "If Only Heard" I have a strong testimony and willing to share it as well.. God has been a big part of my survival. seems like I had to experience all this to understand so id be a strong servant. my life is in Gods hand as well as our government…

Richard Flor died on Wednesday after suffering heart attacks and kidney failure about six months into his five-year federal sentence…

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Dear Supporter,

Five years ago, Montana’s most outspoken medical marijuana patient — Robin Prosser — committed suicide after the DEA seized her medicine, making her life unbearable.
Now flash forward to this past Wednesday night, when the feds’ war on medical marijuana claimed another Montana citizen’s life …
Former medical marijuana provider Richard Flor died on Wednesday after suffering heart attacks and kidney failure about six months into his five-year federal sentence. Richard was sentenced despite suffering from diabetes, Hepatitis C, and osteoarthritis.
For months, the federal government failed to place him in a facility that could give him the medical care he needed — and that the judge recommended.
Let your Congress member know that it’s past time to end this carnage.
Richard was Montana’s first registered caregiver, under a law that MPP passed via voter initiative in November 2004. He was assisting his wife Sherry — who suffers from chronic pain and is allergic to pain medications — as well as other patients.
Richard believed President Obama and his Justice Department when they said that medical marijuana providers would not be a federal enforcement priority. So, in 2009, Richard co-founded Montana Cannabis, where patients could get reliable, safe access to their medicine. But then the feds suddenly shifted their policy in March 2011, targeting Montana Cannabis and several other providers without warning. 
The feds didn’t spare Sherry, either: She is serving a two-year sentence.
Please email your U.S. House representative to ask them to pass legislation to give legal protection to medical marijuana patients, caregivers, and businesses in the 17 (and soon to be more) states and the District of Columbia, where medical marijuana is legal.

Rob Kampia signature (master)

Rob Kampia thumbnail (master)Rob Kampia
Executive Director
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington, D.C.

P.S.  If you’d like to send Sherry a sympathy card, please mail it to:
    Sherry Flor #11358046
    Federal Prison Camp
    37930 North 45th Avenue
    Phoenix, AZ 85086

Ask your U.S. Representative to stand up for medical marijuana patients and providers

Landmark Prescription Drug Bill Takes Effect; Gov. Beshear Praises Full Throttle Attack on Prescription Abuse

Office of the Attorney General
Landmark Prescription Drug Bill Takes Effect; Gov. Beshear Praises Full Throttle Attack on Prescription Abuse

Press Release Date:
Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Contact Information:
Kerri Richardson
502.564.2611

Just days after a landmark prescription drug abuse law took effect, Governor Steve Beshear joined lawmakers and medical providers to report the law has already effected changes in the medical field and positioned Kentucky as a national leader in battling prescription abuse.

House Bill 1 (HB1), sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, passed in a special legislative session this spring. The bill included multiple elements to prevent the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs and to enhance law enforcement’s tools to investigate illegal prescribing practices.

“The enforcement of this bill began just a couple of days ago, and yet we already know that four ‘pain management clinics’ in Kentucky have waved the white flag and notified us they will shut their doors,” said Gov. Beshear. “We know that more than 9,000 medical providers have signed up for electronic prescription monitoring just since this law passed in April – more than doubling the number registered. The word is out. Kentucky is deadly serious about stopping this scourge of prescription drug abuse, and now we have some of the strongest tools in the country to make that happen.”

Gov. Beshear was joined by Attorney General Jack Conway as well as representatives from medical licensure boards, advocacy groups and law enforcement organizations, for today’s announcement.

HB1 expands the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting (KASPER) system, the state’s prescription monitoring system, by requiring all prescription providers of controlled substances to register. It requires pain management clinics to be owned by a licensed medical practitioner, and requires professional licensure boards to investigate prescribing complaints immediately. The legislation allows for better coordination between health regulators and law enforcement to address problems of abuse. Finally, elements of HB1 will help prevent Kentucky from becoming a source state for prescription pills.

According to Kentucky’s Drug Control Policy Office, nearly 1,000 Kentuckians die every year from drug overdoses – an annual fatality rate that exceeds deaths from car accidents. More than 5,000 overdose patients are admitted to hospitals annually.

“Let’s be very clear – if you need a prescription for a controlled substance for a legitimate medical condition, you have nothing to fear. You’ll get your medicine. For doctors who worry their ability to prescribe will be compromised, you have nothing to fear. The law is built to protect valid prescribing,” said Gov. Beshear. “But if you’re doctor-shopping, buying extra pills for recreational use, or prescribing pills for cash, you’d better change your vocation or change your location, because we’re coming after you.”

“Prescription drug abuse is killing Kentuckians. Three people will die today from prescription drug overdoses. I believe the provisions in House Bill 1 will save the lives of our friends, our neighbors and our family members,” said Attorney General Jack Conway. “The provisions in this law will help shut down rogue clinics and providers who are poisoning people. I appreciate those in the medical community who have joined with us as responsible providers to be a part of the solution instead of part of the problem.”

“House Bill 1 and the emergency regulations will help stop tragic loss of life to drug abuse. We are working closely with medical professionals to ensure that legitimate pain management cases are not adversely affected,” said Speaker Stumbo. “The joint Implementation and Oversight Committee will be alert to any needed corrections, and we will make sure that all concerns are addressed.”

Lawmakers praised the cooperation of the Cabinets, agencies, and boards who worked together to create new regulations, educate patients and medical providers, and build the necessary computer infrastructure to support the implementation of the law.

HB1 Impact – KASPER enhancements

Effective July 20, all medical practitioners who prescribe controlled substances must register to use KASPER and run a KASPER report before prescribing a patient a controlled substance such as Oxycontin or Xanax.

When the law passed in April, KASPER had 7,911 registered accounts. Since then, another 9,137 providers have signed up for the program, a 115 percent increase.

According to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), which oversees KASPER, 90 percent of all KASPER reports are completed within 15 to 30 seconds. The reports show medical providers what other controlled substances have been prescribed to a patient and in what amount.

“Some providers worried that running a KASPER report would be cumbersome or time consuming, but 9 times out of 10, it will take as much time as measuring a patient’s blood pressure or recording their insurance information,” said Mary Begley, CHFS Inspector General. “It’s a very short investment of time that will become as routine as taking a patient’s temperature. A report can provide crucial information that not only may flag a problem user, but may also warn a provider of otherwise unforeseen complications from drug interactions.”

KASPER’s cache of prescription information will grow more robust as more users add records. Supporters say patient care will become more precise as medical providers review patient prescription history and know more about existing prescriptions.

A 2010 CHFS poll of KASPER users noted that 94 percent of medical providers said that the program is an effective tool in tracking an individual’s prescription history, and nearly 94 percent reported satisfaction with the tool. Nearly 9 in 10 KASPER users reported denying a prescription for a controlled substance to a patient based on information provided by a KASPER report.

To accommodate the steep increase in KASPER use, CHFS has hired additional staff, implemented system upgrades and expanded capacity.

Existing regulations provide that all dispensers (usually pharmacists) report to KASPER when any Schedule II through Schedule V controlled substances are dispensed. For the first time, new regulations provide that all prescribers must request a KASPER report before Schedule II, III and some IVs are prescribed. A list of certain Schedule IV controlled substances, which are known to be used or diverted, is attached.

HB1 Impact: Shared Investigative Information

HB1 requires that when a complaint about prescription abuse is lodged with any of several investigative agencies – the Attorney General, Kentucky State Police (KSP), CHFS, or any of the professional licensure boards – that complaint must be shared with the remaining agencies.

Previously, if KSP was investigating a possible pill mill, the agencies that licensed that clinic were not required to be notified, nor would they be compelled to contribute information to the case.

The Attorney General, KSP, CHFS and the six professional licensure boards have signed a memorandum of understanding to notify the other agencies of prescription complaints within three days of receipt. This will allow the investigators to share information quickly.

The six professional boards – Medical Licensure, Nursing, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Podiatry and Optometry – are required to share reports with the Attorney General, KSP and CHFS but not required to share among each other. This alleviates concerns that the professional organizations would be forced to report information to other boards that have no jurisdiction over the complaint.

HB1 Impact: Regulations Squeeze Offenders, Offer Grace Period for Providers

Regulations for the implementation of HB1 were filed on July 20, the effective date of HB1. These regulations, which interpret how the law is carried out by each agency, board, or office, uphold the intent of HB1 – to reduce the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs.

New regulations mandate that all pain management clinics must be owned by a licensed medical provider or employ a medical director in good standing with one of the professional licensure boards. Clinics will have some time to meet those requirements, but CHFS administrators say that already, four of the state’s pain clinics not owned by physicians have reported that they will close their doors. Another 9 have not yet contacted CHFS regarding licensing, and will be investigated to determine if they are operating illegally.

“Not all pain management clinics are abusing their prescribing authority – many of them are meeting legitimate patient needs,” said CHFS Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes. “However, these regulations are designed to make it very, very difficult to stay in business if your clinic is a pill mill, prescribing high volumes of powerful drugs to people who are addicted.”

Each of the professional license boards has also created an educational period for practitioners through October 1st. Much like other laws such as the seat belt law, providers will have a few months to get accustomed to the new practices before any disciplinary action will take place.

“We don’t want the medical community to be afraid of immediate repercussions if they make an error this early in the process,” said Preston Nunnelley, chair of the Board of Medical Licensure. “We’ll have a few months to learn how the new policies will work, and we’ll be able to correct and guide providers along the way, instead of punishing people for unintentional errors.”

Kentucky Medical Practitioners Survey

Kentucky Medical Practitioners Survey

Reschedule Cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II

Please print your name if you believe cannabis/marijuana doesn’t meet the “no accepted medical value” requirement of a Schedule I drug

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Nearly 11,500 Kentuckians with Alzheimer’s live Alone

KENTUCKY (3/8/12) – Advance planning for future legal, financial and long-term care needs is critical for the estimated one in seven Americans − or 11,430 Kentuckians − diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and who still live alone, up to half of them without an identifiable caregiver, according to the Alzheimer’s Association® 2012 Facts and Figures Report, released today.
“Alzheimer’s and other dementias take our loved ones through unfamiliar territory, and advance planning in the early stages of the disease allow them to build a care team, make financial plans and prepare for future safety concerns, while they are still cognitively able to do so,” said Teri Shirk, president and CEO of the Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, which offers a variety of resources for individuals with Alzheimer’s as well as their family members and other caregivers.
States need to plan ahead as well: Today’s report projects a 500 percent increase in combined state Medicare and Medicaid spending by 2050 due to the expanding population of Alzheimer’s patients. According to the report, which found that someone in America develops Alzheimer’s every 68 seconds, as many as 6.7 million Americans will be living with the disease by 2025, including 97,000 Kentucky residents (a 31 percent increase over 2000, when 74,000 Kentuckians had Alzheimer’s). Nearly 30 percent of those with Alzheimer’s are on Medicare and Medicaid, compared to just 11 percent of those without dementia.
“Caring for people with Alzheimer’s will cost the United States an estimated $200 billion in 2012, an amount that already threatens to overwhelm federal and state budgets,” Shirk said. “Absent intervention, those costs will grow to $1.1 trillion by mid-century. Then there are the out-of-pocket costs to family caregivers, which are projected to balloon 400 percent by 2050. We simply must have a National Alzheimer’s Plan in place that establishes the resources we need to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s, and to ensure much-needed support for those with Alzheimer’s and their families.” A draft National Alzheimer’s Plan was announced February 22, and comments currently are being sought.
Other Kentucky-related statistics included in today’s report:
• The new report reveals there are 15.2 million friends and family members providing care for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, including 264,658 caregivers in Kentucky. In 2011, these caregivers provided $210 billion worth of unpaid care nationally; and $3.65 billion in Kentucky (in fact, Kentucky was one of 39 states in which unpaid caregivers provided care valued at more than $1 billion).
• The physical and emotional impact on Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers is estimated to result in nearly $9 billion in increased health care costs in the United States, including $144.6 million for caregivers in Kentucky.
• About 51,000 residents of Kentucky nursing homes in 2009 had cognitive impairments.
Other national statistics in the Alzheimer’s Association® 2012 Facts and Figures report:
• According to the Alzheimer’s Association report, there are 5.4 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, including 5.2 million people age 65 or older and 200,000 people under the age of 65. And 45 percent of adults 85 and older have Alzheimer’s.
• Medicare payments for an older person with Alzheimer’s or other dementias are nearly three times higher, while Medicaid payments are 19 times higher than for seniors without Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
• While only 4 percent of the general population will be admitted to a nursing home by age 80, for people with Alzheimer’s, 75 percent will be admitted to a nursing home by age 80, posing significant economic challenges to state Medicaid budgets.
• Most people survive an average of four to eight years after an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis, but some can live as long as 20 years with the disease.
• Of family caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, 61 percent rated their emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high.
Alzheimer’s Association’s Facts and Figures
The Alzheimer’s Association’s Facts and Figures report is a comprehensive compilation of national statistics and information on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The report conveys the impact of Alzheimer’s on individuals, families, government, and the nation’s healthcare system. Since its 2007 inaugural release, the report has become the most cited source covering the broad spectrum of Alzheimer’s issues. The Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report is an official publication of the Alzheimer’s Association®.
SurfKY News
Information provided by Danielle Waller

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