The United States is currently experiencing an epidemic of prescription opioid overdoses. Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S.
The amount of prescribed hydrocodone, West Virginia’s most popular prescription pain-killer, is being reduced by more the 13-million.
“When there are less units of narcotics diverted, you are going to save lives. Period. Nobody, nobody can debate that,” said WV Board of Pharmacy member, John Bernababei.
Bernababei co-owns several pharmacies in the Northern Panhandle and says the Mountain State’s reporting system is even ahead of the game.
Not only are all controlled substances reported every single day, cutting back on doctor shoppers, but those who work in pharmacies are trained to know the signs of potential addition as well.
Those signs include, people trying to get their pills early, someone who doesn’t want their prescription run through insurance, and anyone who has come from out of town.
“People aren’t gonna drive 100 miles to get the Amoxicillin, but when they’re driving 100 miles to get their narcotic filled, that’s a huge red flag,” said Bernababei.
These type of reporting systems are happening across the country. Ohio has one, and Pennsylvanian’s could be coming any day now. Pharmacists agree that these are saving lives but they would like to see a national system put in place.
“We have a drug problem. We have people dying of taking too many narcotics. And their mixing it with illicit drugs and they’re mixing it with all kind of things. We have a problem,” said Bernababei.
Bernabaei adds that they’re not trying to keep people from the pills that they need– that’s not their goal.
“We want validate use and make sure it’s for legitimate medical purpose all the time. That’s the goal of the reporting system, and it’s working,” said Bernababei.