By Mannix Porterfield
Just a couple of years ago, authorities at all levels of government met at a state park and agreed that West Virginia’s drug problem has worsened to epidemic proportions.
Across the state today, residents have an opportunity to help alleviate matters in another round of Drug Take-Back Day, an opportunity to rid medicine cabinets of unwanted, unused and expired medications.
Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., who organized the special summit at Twin Falls State Park to address the problem, acknowledged Friday that the drug scourge cannot be resolved with a one-dimensional approach.
“We know there is no single answer, not one action, nor a ‘silver bullet’ in our fight against prescription drug abuse,” the 3rd District congressman said.
“But one way to truly affect this epidemic is to limit supply and focus on the prevention of new issues.”
The event is the latest in a series sponsored by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.
Hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“Prescription drug abuse remains a terribly serious problem in West Virginia, and around the country,” U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said.
“For many people, especially teenagers, the road to addiction starts with pills they find in their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets. Worse than that, our region has seen a wave of terrifying home invasions by prescription drug addicts looking for pills or for money to buy pills.”
Goodwin said more than 2 million pounds of prescription pills were turned in across the nation in five previous Take-Back events.
Rahall, who co-chairs the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse, said the take back is “one of the simplest, most effective preventive measures we have on our side.”
“In the end, our collective efforts can save lives, save medical resources, hospital beds and prison cells, broken homes and orphaned little ones,” he said.
“It will save commerce and all levels of government scarce resources. Yes, that means savings to the taxpayer.”
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, working in tandem with the state Department of Health and Human Resources, plans to assist with such an event at the state Capitol.
Residents are given an opportunity to turn in old drugs on a no-questions-asked basis that are in turn disposed of by authorities.
Another supporter, Sen. Joe Manchin, also D-W.Va., recently re-introduced the “Safe Prescribing Act of 2013,” aimed at elevating hydrocodone pain killers such as Vicodin and Lortab from a Schedule III to a Schedule II controlled substance.
“Our prescription drug abuse epidemic is devastating to communities across West Virginia and this country, whether it prevents employers from hiring drug-free workers, or it tears families apart,” Manchin said.
Applauding the take-back events, Manchin said they not only allows residents to get rid of old medications “but spread awareness of this critical issue.”
West Virginia State Police, 105 Pinecrest Dr., Beckley; Beckley Police Department, at Commission on Aging, 1624 Kanawha St., and Kroger Co. parking lot, 1734 Harper Rd.
Bluefield Police Department, 200 South Mercer St., Bluefield; Hinton Police Department, Kroger Co. parking lot, 308 Stokes Dr., Hinton;
West Virginia State Police, 381 Greenbrier Rd., Lewisburg; Boone County Sheriff’s Office, and courthouse, 200 State St., Madison; Pocahontas County Sheriff’s Department, 200 8th St., Marlinton;
Wyoming County Sheriff’s Department, Ride Aid parking lot, 401 Moran Ave., Mullens, Magic Mart parking lot, Oceana, and Rite Aid parking lot, 448 Appalachian Highway, Pineville;
West Virginia State Police, 3057 Main St., Oak Hill; State Police, 901 Oakvale Rd., Princeton; Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, 215 S. Walker St., Princeton; and Nicholas County Sheriff’s Office, 200 Wall St., Summersville.
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