Fighting Substance Abuse

West Virginia has one of the highest rates in the country of non-medical use of prescription pain relievers in 19 to 25 year olds. Opioids are the number one cause of death associated with drug overdoses. The drug epidemic in this state knows no socioeconomic or geographic boundaries and continues to affect West Virginians from all walks of life.

Drugs are flooding into our state in a variety of ways. The supply is meeting the demand. To combat this pervasive issue, law enforcement across the state needs more resources to efficiently and effectively respond to the growing epidemic.

Our economy also has suffered. Substance abuse costs employers substantial amounts of money in terms of health care, workplace injuries, disability payments, and loss of productivity. It’s often hard for companies to even find and retain qualified employees because of substance abuse issues.

To help combat this issue, The Office of the Attorney General has implemented a multi-faceted strategy. That includes his partnering with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute drug crimes in northern West Virginia, continued enforcement of consumer protection laws with respect to entities in the prescription drug supply chain and the ongoing development of best practices in an effort to enforce the safe and appropriate use of opioids when treating patients, while minimizing the risk of addiction and substance abuse.

The Attorney General also sits on the National Association of Attorneys General Substance Abuse Committee, in addition to dedicating a consumer protection representative to travel the state with education on substance abuse issues and implementation of a Dispose Responsibly of Prescriptions (DRoP) program to aid in the safe disposal of unwanted medications. He also sits on the National Association of Attorneys General Substance Abuse Committee, in addition to dedicating a consumer protection representative to travel the state with education on substance abuse issues and implementation of a Dispose Responsibly of Prescriptions (DRoP) program to aid in the safe disposal of unwanted medications.

The time is now for all of us – government officials, medical professionals, law enforcement, faith-based leaders and the community at large — to do everything possible to put an end to these senseless deaths.

Future generations are at risk if we don’t do everything imaginable to stop this epidemic now.

Learn more about our fight against substance abuse:

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The Centers for Disease Control reported that West Virginia’s 2014 overdose rate was the highest in the country with 35.5 deaths per 100,000 and a total of 627 drug overdose deaths.
 
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