The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Editorials

June 25, 2014

Rx abuse

Time to find our own solutions

— The frustration of dealing with West Virginia’s chronic drug problem is leading to innovative ways to attempt to curb the abuse.

In Oceana, the City Council should have a new law in place this summer that imposes fines on persons who possess drug paraphernalia, or material or equipment that can be used to make, use or conceal illegal drugs.

Based on a law passed by the City of Huntington, it would fine anyone caught with such items $500 for a first offense, $1,000 for a second and $2,000 for a third.

“I feel this ordinance will give the police department another tool they can use,” Councilman Jim Cook said. “It is a crime-prevention strategy and sends a message to the community that we are serious on fighting illegal drug use.”

A second attempt to whittle down prescription drug abuse in the state comes from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, which announced new regulations on the state’s numerous pain management clinics that are often condemned by the phrase “pill mills.”

Come July 1, clinics that primarily treat patients for chronic pain must be licensed by the office Health Facility Licensure and Certification, a division within the DHHR.

A chronic pain management clinic is defined as a facility that primarily treats “chronic pain for nonmalignant conditions.”

Clinics qualify under the chronic pain management clinic classification if more than 50 percent of the clinic’s unique patient visits in a month are to obtain certain prescription pain medications. Hospitals, nursing homes and certain other facility types are exempt from having to apply for and obtain a license,

 “Pain clinic licensure is the most recent step in combating substance abuse in West Virginia,” said Jolynn Marra, director of the licensure and certification office. “Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and members of the Legislature began implementing substance abuse legislation in 2012. Licensure ensures all chronic pain management clinics conform to a common set of standards and meet minimum requirements for care, treatment, health, safety, welfare and comfort of patients.”

We think it is a positive sign to see communities like Oceana and state regulators move aggressively to do what they can to try to turn back the tide of drug abuse.

On the issue of the abuse of pharmaceutical painkillers, we find it ironic that an industry that is so heavily regulated at the federal level somehow can’t seem to come up with ways to keep powerful analgesic painkillers away from those who abuse them.

But we’re not advocating that the federal government become more involved. After years of seeing the problem continue to grow, we have far more confidence in state regulators and, when it comes to street drugs, the common sense of the good folks in Oceana.

It’s the West Virginia way, after all, to take on problems ourselves.

It’s time we created our own solutions.

 

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • Primary care

    DHHR program weans folks away from the ER

    July 24, 2014

  • Rain? What Rain?

    Community still enjoys auto fair despite uncooperative weather

    July 23, 2014

  • Do tell

    It’s hard to keep a secret in today’s here-a-camera, there-a-camera, everywhere-a-camera world. Whatever one does that is embarrassing is immediately posted on YouTube, Facebook or other social media of choice.

    July 22, 2014

  • Juvenile justice

    West Virginia nearly doubled the rate it sent youths to juvenile facilities from 1997 to 2011, in contrast to declining rates of youthful incarceration elsewhere in the United States.

    July 20, 2014

  • Thumbs — Saturday, July 19, 2014

    July 19, 2014

  • Do something

     Johnstown police have charged three men in the brutal murder early Sunday of a city academy student.

    July 18, 2014

  • Showcase

    For White Sulphur Springs, there’s hardly enough time to catch a breath.

    July 17, 2014

  • Bon appetit

    Agriculture and farm products can help diversify state economy

    July 16, 2014

  • Generous

    Outsiders can say what they will about West Virginians — but they can’t say we’re stingy.
    Time after time after time, we band together to help our neighbors out of a jam, aid someone down on their luck or otherwise in a bad way.

    July 15, 2014

  • Reminder

    Study points out old, new problems with W.Va. roads

    July 13, 2014