Whitesburg KY
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T-shirts are offensive, but little can be done

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 that 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.

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.” …

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.

— The Daily Independent, Ashland

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