The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Editorials

April 16, 2014

Continuing the fight

Two new anti-drug initiatives were revealed this month as southern West Virginia continues its stubborn and necessary battle against drug addiction and all the ills that accompany it.

In Hinton, the Hinton Hope Foundation kicked off a community awareness program aimed at young adults called “A Stand Against Drugs.”

“The drug problem, especially among young adults, is very high in our county,” said Rebecca Stalnaker, a foundation volunteer. “We’re hoping to bring some help and get these young people to realize what they’re up against and where their lives will go if they don’t get some help.

“We’ve been doing a lot of research into what our county needs. Some of the issues we were facing were with the youth drugs and bringing people back into our county. We’ve lost about 20 percent of our county in the last seven to 10 years. We’re hoping that, if we can get our county cleaned up, then we can bring some of our population back.”

Also, in Beckley, elected officials, law enforcement officers and doctors attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week for a newly formed organization that intends to eliminate prescription pill abuse.

PPPFD: Patients, Physicians, Pharmacists Fighting Diversion was founded by President and CEO Mark Radcliffe.

“Our goal as private citizens is to empower patients who are legitimate patients, who desire and deserve legitimate pain care, to fight the problem of prescription drug diversion and abuse,” Radcliffe said.

Those who enter the program must agree to provide driver’s license info and fingerprints to be treated. Those will be put into a database for use at pharmacies so pharmacists will have a better idea on whether they are filling a legitimate prescription.

Radcliffe said patients will also have to agree to unannounced pill counts to ensure they aren’t selling their pills.

“We want to protect the right to pain care,” Seth said.

We have concerns about privacy in this situation, but since those joining the program are not being coerced into it, we think the benefit will outweigh those concerns.

One thing we do know is that, in the war against drug abuse, our solutions may well have to become as tough as the problem.

New thinking like this is a good way to begin.

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