KASPER, or the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting, in the state of Kentucky is supposed to be nothing more than a database for physicians and law enforcement personnel according to their sight.
What is KASPER? The Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting System (KASPER) tracks controlled substance prescriptions dispensed within the state. A KASPER report shows all scheduled prescriptions for an individual over a specified time period, the prescriber and the dispenser. Enhanced KASPER (eKASPER) provides Web-based access to KASPER data.
KASPER is a reporting system designed to be:
A source of information for practitioners and pharmacists.
An investigative tool for law enforcement.
KASPER is not intended to:
Prevent people from obtaining needed drugs.
Decrease the number of doses dispensed.
The above is taken directly from the KASPER site with italics and bold words added by me. Although it says KASPER is not supposed to keep people from obtaining their medications or to decrease the number of the doses dispensed per their physician’s orders, patients and doctors are now under very close scrutiny by politicians and law enforcement officials. If an individual must have narcotic pain medication they are placed on this list and the amount of times the prescription is filled and whether or not it is attempted to be filled early is passed along to law enforcement. If there are too many “infractions” the patient and doctor are supposed to be brought up for review.
Who can obtain a KASPER report?
Access to the KASPER system is carefully controlled through identity and credential checks and secure web access. Access to KASPER is available to the health care professionals and other entities listed below:
Prescribers for medical treatment of a patient,
Dispensers for pharmaceutical treatment of a patient,
Law enforcement officers for a bona fide drug-related investigation,
Commonwealth’s attorneys and assistant Commonwealth’s attorneys, county attorneys and assistant county attorneys,
Licensure boards for an investigation of a licensee,
Medicaid for utilization review on a recipient,
A grand jury by subpoena, and
A judge or probation or parole officer administering a drug diversion or probation program.
According to everything given on the Internet, and we all know the Internet is infallible, this is a simple program to keep down the sale of prescription drugs on the street. In reality, the pharmacy, patient, and doctors are in a slowly closing black hole as I was made aware this weekend when it came time to fill a non-narcotic prescription. It was not a script for pain medication at all. The person I spoke with at the pharmacy when I called in to refill my medication informed me it could not be filled because it “wasn’t time” and I would have to wait until Monday, today, for the medicine and there was nothing I could do about it.
Going through a very serious arthritis flare as I currently am, and on high doses of a steroid, my body’s balance is fragile. Because I did not receive the medication when I needed it my body went off balance and I had a fever – the body reacts to arthritis as if it is a horrible infection even though there really isn’t an infection in the body, specifically the joints, to fight – and became quite ill. For a while there my husband and I were wondering if we should just pack me up and head out for the emergency room.
“Call them one more time,” the Husband said. “Talk to the pharmacist directly if you can.” I did and was able to talk to someone who was knowledgeable and in authority. During this conversation I discovered the first person I had spoken with had been an intern and they had not understood the medicine was not covered under KASPER. So, the medication was secured and taken, but I ended up being very ill for the weekend.
Today I had to call in for another medicine refill and, again, there was confusion. This time I went straight to the pharmacist and the situation was handled quickly, but that there was a situation at all is unnecessary.
As with all things, the law may say one thing, but how it is actually used and put into practice is a completely different matter all together.
A new stigma is also forming with KASPER: If you are on the KASPER list you are a drug addict. The judgement is made. It is final and there is nothing that will change their minds. If you have to be on a low dose narcotic to keep pain remotely down, you are an addict and therefore you are not as important in society as you were before. It doesn’t matter if you fight pain constantly and are on some of the lowest doses possible because you prefer to have a life instead of sleeping it away. If you are on the KASPER list you are not as important as you were before. You become just a little less human because of needing medication.
This last stigma really hurts. Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s most physically disabled people were not seen out in public. There were stares and open pity and some fear, because the disabled person was “not normal” and being normal was the most important thing. Luckily for me, growing up where I did and in the family I have, my “normalcy” was never questioned and whatever I wanted to try or accomplish was supported, within reason – there were some things best not attempted, but only because of danger to life and limb.
In looking back at everything I have overcome physically, socially, emotionally, and with life in general, to be judged to being less-than-normal or human comes as a decisive slap in my face and heart. Not everyone who must take pain medication is a drug addicted felon so Why must I be judged like I am? Does this mean I should be quiet and hide the fact I am not like other people physically? How am I supposed to hide it if I use a power wheelchair to get around places? Do I pretend I am not a human being or less of a human being to make someone else feel better about themselves?
KASPER has begun as a punishment by law makers to keep narcotic sales down on the street, but the drug dealers still deal. Heroine, according to law enforcement officials, is cheap