Politics & Government

Conway announces scholarship for students affected by prescription drug abuse

FRANKFORT — A college scholarship program has been set up for Kentucky students whose lives have been affected by prescription drug abuse, Attorney General Jack Conway announced Monday.

The program, which uses no state funding, will provide two $1,500 scholarships this school year to graduating high school students in Kentucky, Conway said at a news conference in his Capitol office.

He said he is reviewing the legality of whether a foundation can be set up to expand the program.

Money for the launch of the program, Conway said, come from the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators and from parents of two young people who died of prescription drug abuse. The Prosecutors Advisory Council also has worked with Conway on the program.

The scholarships are in memory of Sarah Shay of Morehead, who died of a prescription drug overdose in 2006 at age 19, and Michael Donta of Ashland, who died of prescription painkiller abuse in 2010 at age 24.

Their parents, Karen Shay and Mike Donta, often accompany Conway when he takes his Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program to schools to warn middle school and high school students of the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

Under the new scholarship program, a scholarship will be awarded each year to two graduating high school seniors, one male and one female, who meet certain criteria.

Scholarship applications and eligibility requirements are available at http://ag.ky.gov/rxabuse.

Completed scholarship applications must be submitted by Jan. 15. Recipients will be announced in May.