The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

March 27, 2013

War on drugs

— This week at W.Va. legislative sessions in Charleston, the Senate approved a bill to put even more limits on hydrocodone prescriptions.

It was a good move.

The war on drugs is a serious one. The fact that our senators agreed to enact legislation that limits hydrocodone prescriptions to 30-day supplies and two refills is evidence that our lawmakers are attempting to do all they can to remove potentially dangerous pills from the streets of W.Va.

Sadly, pill abuse is rampant in our state.

Judiciary Chairman Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, termed hydrocodone, a pain medication, as “one of the most abused substances we have in West Virginia.”

The very presence of the prescription in medicine cabinets of legitimate pain patients has even made their homes a target for pill heads desperate to get their hands on more pills.

It’s an unbelievable time we live in.

“It is a crisis in West Virginia,” Sen. Evan Jenkins, D-Cabell, said of the drug scourge our state faces.

Jenkins also pointed out that members of West Virginia’s delegation in Congress have sought to elevate hydrocodone-associated products to Schedule II, a designation now reserved for pure hydrocodone.

We certainly need our lawmakers on the state and national level to be waging this war — so we are glad that all involved are swinging the same sword.

The end result seems simple enough — take unnecessary  amounts of hydrocodone off the streets.

It’s a common sense approach that we feel will work.

“Hopefully, we’re not going to have medicine cabinets having four, six, eight months’ supply,” Jenkins stated. “They’re only going to have a 30-day supply.”

It will be done in a manner that it’s not inconvenient for law-abiding citizens too.

Doctors could call in refills, as needed.

A Schedule III drug has the potential for abuse and low-to-moderate physical dependence, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which also says a Schedule II drug has a high potential for abuse and is considered dangerous.

While this bill won’t completely solve the pill issue in our state, it’s one step toward that goal.

It’s a battle that must be fought every day in whatever capacity we see necessary.

And it’s a battle we cannot afford to lose.