The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

May 2, 2013

Manchin targets hydrocodone again

PINEVILLE — Hydrocodone is rapidly becoming the drug of choice in southern West Virginia, and Sen. Joe Manchin is taking his fight against the prescription pain killer into the heart of that region to bolster his second effort to further regulate it.

Manchin plans to conduct an open town hall meeting today at 11 a.m. at the Wyoming County Courthouse in Pineville, with most of his attention on the narcotic that was the subject of a failed proposal a year ago.

Just recently, the senator reintroduced that same bill, one that would elevate hydrocodone from a Schedule III to Schedule II drug.

“I think we actually have a good shot in the House this year,” a Manchin aide said Wednesday.

A year ago, the measure cleared the Senate unanimously, and an expert panel voted 19-10 to recommend that the Federal Drug Administration sign off on it, but the House rejected it.

“That’s a huge problem,” the aide said of hydrocodone.

“The drug has sort of devastated the community.”

Manchin’s office described hydrocodone as “nearly as addictive” as morphine and said drugs that contain it accounted for 139 million prescriptions in the nation in 2010. In that same year, emergency room visits prompted by hydrocodone abuse jumped to 115,000 from 38,000 in 2004.

Two years ago, pharmacies filled 131 million prescriptions of the drug for 47 million people — or enough to pass out 24 pills for everyone living in this country.

In his bid to raise public awareness last year for the Safe Prescribing Act, Manchin, D-W.Va., spoke to some middle school students in Wyoming County and learned how the drug has ripped into the fiber of society there.

“They told him their parents, grandparents, friends, neighbors — everybody — is just being devastated,” the Manchin spokesman said.

What has exacerbated the problem is the ease with which one can get a prescription, by merely feigning a pain in a checkup, he said.

With a prescription, one can get a 90-day supply of the pill, then a refill, the Manchin spokesman said.

“Taking it from Schedule III to Schedule II changes how frequently you can get it, how many times you have to see a doctor before you can get a refill, and how the pharmacy stores it because a lot of people get hooked and go in and rob the pharmacy,” he added.

— E-mail:

Text Only
Local News
  • Human remains found near White Sulphur Springs

    Law enforcement officials are investigating human remains discovered by a local resident near White Sulphur Springs on Friday afternoon, according to Greenbrier County Sheriff Jan Cahill.

    April 20, 2014

  • knine Beckley officer and K-9 partner Ciro win award from WVPCA

    They say every dog has his day, but a local pooch and his handler have had about 365 days of success.
    Cpl. Jamie Blume of the Beckley Police Department and his K-9 partner Ciro have won the 2013-2014 Officer and K-9 of the Year award from the WVPCA, according to a press release from the Beckley Police Department.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting at Quality Inn injures one

    A shooting took place at the Quality Inn in Beckley on Friday night, according to Raleigh County dispatchers.

    April 20, 2014

  • Area 911 dispatchers report several fires

    Fire departments from all over Raleigh County and its surrounding areas dealt with fires Friday night, according to dispatchers.

    April 20, 2014

  • High court overturns Raleigh ruling

    An audio recording between a confidential informant and a Beckley attorney accused of selling cocaine will now be allowed into evidence, according to a West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruling.

    April 20, 2014

  • Calendar — Sunday, April 20, 2014

    April 20, 2014

  • State agency announces new WIC income guidelines

    The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Office of Nutrition Services has reported new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) income eligibility guidelines for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

    April 20, 2014

  • mthope Good Friday scene

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Service workers want voice in choice in Raleigh County Schools superintendent hiring

    The president of the Raleigh County School Service Personnel Association has asked Raleigh County Board of Education members to choose a school superintendent who will hear the concerns of service workers in the school system and involve them in the decision-making process.

    April 19, 2014

  • Two internal candidates will interview for superintendent position Monday

    Two current administrators at Raleigh County Schools will be interviewed for the position of superintendent Monday, Raleigh Board of Education members verified Friday.
    Raleigh Schools Director of Secondary Education Miller Hall and Raleigh Schools Assistant Superintendent David Price were chosen from a pool of six applicants, BOE members said.

    April 19, 2014