By Travis Perry│Kansas Watchdog
OSAWATOMIE — The U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance has awarded the Kansas Prescription Drug Monitoring Program yet another$400,000 grant, a portion of which will investigate how K-TRACS spent the more than $1 million in federal aid it has received since 2009.
K-TRACS has been tasked with electronically keeping tabs on prescription drugs distributed by pharmacies statewide, helping medical professionals and pharmaceutical distributors regulate the flow of schedule II, III and IV drugs.
U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said prescription drug abuse is the nation’s fastest growing drug problem, outpacing the combined usage of street drugs like cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants.
K-TRACS has received more than $1.3 million in grants from various sources, but $1.2 million has come directly from Bureau of Justice Assistance, courtesy of the Harold Rogers Prescription Monitoring Grant, said K-TRACS Director Christina Morris.
“We’ve been really successful in obtaining grant money,” Morris said.
K-TRACS first two $400,000 Harold Rogers grants, awarded in 2009 and 2010, were targeted at getting the fledgling agency off the ground. The grants focused primarily on vendor fees and equipment costs, as well as other startup expenses, including salaries for Morris and administrative specialist Aimee Grubb.
This time around, such expenses will be limited to $100,000.
The remaining $300,000 will be used to enhance the program by improving ease of access and program security, as well as funding a study examining the effectiveness of the program.
For fiscal 2013, K-TRACS requested $130,400 for salaries, $164,000 for contract services, $13,100 for commodities and $8,500 for capital outlay expenses, all funded through grants, according to the Kansas Legislative Research Department.
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