Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Opinion

September 9, 2013

Offensive shirts

Attorneys general say they profit from drug epidemic

ASHLAND — Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway has joined the attorneys general in Florida and Maine in asking a  boutique fashion company to cease selling T-shirts that feature  the names of well-known prescription drugs. In a letter to Kitson Inc., a company which sells items online and in store in California, Conway, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Maine Attorney General Janet Mills called the shirts a “cynical effort to profit from people who have died from drug overdoses.”  

At least initially, their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. In fact, Kitson contends the T-shirts are helping create a dialogue about drug abuse.

The  company’s statement adds: “The T-shirts are simply a mirror of what is occurring in our culture. Perhaps more discussion about those whose behavior truly contributes to the deaths every 19 minutes from prescription drugs, those who provide the opportunity for prescription drugs to fall into the hands of our youth, and those who flood the market with the ads, would be a more salient topic.”

Kitson sells sports jersey-type shirts with the drug names Vicodin, Xanax and Adderall written on the back.

There is little or nothing the three attorneys general can do to legally stop the sale of the shirts. They clearly are legal products that be sold without restrictions. Their only offense is that their message offends some.

The letter from Bondi, Mills and Conway disputes the idea the shirts “open the door to a dialogue.” Instead they maintain marketing the shirts “demonstrates not an interest in educating the public about the dangers of prescription drug abuse but rather a most cynical effort to profit on the backs of the thousands of lives lost to this epidemic.”

In a state where thousands have lost their lives by misusing prescription drugs, it is no wonder Conway is offended by what he perceives as an effort to profit off the prescription drug epidemic that continues to plague Kentucky. But other than expressing their concern about the shirts, there is little else the three can do to force Kitson to stop selling them. Before the three attorneys general get too overly concerned, we doubt anyone ever became a drug addict because of something written on a shirt. And in one way, Kitson is right: The  publicity the three attorneys general have received by protesting the offensive shirts has helped generate a dialogue on prescription drug abuse.  Who knows? Maybe something positive will come out of this controversy.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • By a thread

    It took some last-minute political maneuvering by State Rep. Tanya Pullin, D-South Shore and some skilled wheeling and dealing to prevent a bill important to AK Steel in Ashland from ending up on the scrapheap of the 2014 Kentucky General Assembly.

    April 23, 2014

  • Along the river

    Here’s hoping the weather will be as close to perfect as possible on the evening of May 30, as members of the Paul G. Blazer High School class of 2014 gather on the banks of Ohio River for the school’s first graduation on the river that has helped fuel this community’s economy since the time when it was known as known as Poage’s Landing.

    April 22, 2014

  • Good opportunity

    Morehead State University is using a highly successful program for outstanding high school juniors and seniors at Western Kentucky University to launch a similar program beginning in the fall of 2015 on the MSU campus.

    April 20, 2014

  • What's next?

    While virtually all cities in northeastern Kentucky provide their residents with some utility services — water and sewer, mainly, and sometimes natural gas — to the best of our knowledge, Olive Hill is the only town in the FIVCO‚Äąregion with its own electrical company.
     

    April 13, 2014

  • 'Waited too long'

    Lt. Garlin Murl Conner left the U.S. Army as the second-most decorated soldier during World War II, earning four Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during 28 straight months in combat.

    April 12, 2014

  • Enact HB 3

    The National Rx Drug Abuse Summit is under way hundreds of miles from eastern Kentucky in Orlando, Fla., but the three-day conference which runs through Thursday, was organized by Operation UNITE, the eastern Kentucky anti-drug group that knows all too well the devastating impact the prescription drug epidemic continues to have on this region.

    April 11, 2014

  • State officials cease efforts to stop advance of ash borer

    Kentucky’s war against the tiny emerald ash borer responsible for already killing more than 25 million ash trees in the eastern United States has ended in surrender — by state officials, not the tiny insect.

    April 8, 2014

  • Demise of apparel industry in Kentucky continues

    The steady demise of the once thriving clothing industry in small Kentucky towns continues with the latest factory to announce it is shutting down being one of the largest: Fruit of the Loom has announced it is closing its last remaining plant in Jamestown, a move that eventually will see the elimination of more than 600 jobs in the small town near Lake Cumberland.

    April 7, 2014

  • None on ballot

    The 2014 Kentucky General Assembly considered an unusually high number of proposed amendments to the Kentucky Constitution on such issues as casino gambling, the restoration of voting rights for convicted felons and the elimination of state and local elected offices.

    April 4, 2014

  • In Your View

    Letters to the editor

    April 3, 2014