28 January 2010

Prescription Drug Abuse in W.Va.

The state Senate has launched a legislative agenda this session that targets the abuse of prescription drugs in West Virginia, The Associated Press and others report.

Plagued by "one of the highest fatal overdose rates in the country," Senate leaders are backing seven bills that "focus on what's known as drug diversion - illegally obtaining medications by lying to doctors, buying it on the black market or outright theft," writes AP's Tom Breen.

"One bill would require all prescriptions to be written on tamper-proof forms, while another stiffens the penalties for using false information to obtain medication," the article said. "Another measure would require all pharmacies in the state to give pharmacists access to a controlled substances database, so they could check if patients are getting prescriptions from multiple sources."

Upcoming bills will address treatment options, AP reports. "A December 2008 study by the Journal of the American Medical Association put West Virginia's rate of accidental fatal overdoses from prescription drugs at roughly 16 deaths per 100,000 residents, more than twice the national average," Breen explains.

AP also hears from experts in the field on the legislation. Others with coverage include the Herald-Dispatch of Huntington and the Charleston Daily Mail.

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