The opioid epidemic is running rampant through the Mountain State, but more action is being taken by lawmakers to make sure people don’t get addicted in the first place.
Senator Joe Manchin said, “After 7 days, a person is going to be addicted, can be addicted.” He knows that West Virginia is one of the leading states for opioid overdose deaths, so he is advocating that better steps be taken.
Back in March, Governor Justice signed the Opioid Reduction Act that will go into effect June 7th. Dr. Rahul Gupta, the Commissioner of WV Public Health, said, “The whole idea is to reduce the volume of pain pills that are circulating around without impacting people in a bad way.”
This will only affect first-time prescriptions such as a ankle or tooth surgery. This will not affect those who take a prescription medication on a regular basis. Senator Manchin says, “You don’t prescribe for 30 days or 20 days or longer when you have to see if that maybe 3, 4, or 5 days of prescriptions might ease their pain and get the job done that needs to be done.”
Dr. Gupta says, “The law will put a limit of about 4 days in prescribing in the emergency room. It will put a limit on about 3 days in prescribing to dentists, optometrists, and veterinarians. It will put a limit of 7 days on prescribing of opioids to any new patients in the doctor’s office.”
Here’s another piece of the act. If a patient wanted to get off their opioid prescriptions, they may be forced to go to a treatment center miles away to be treated. But now physicans will be able to take a course on how to treat their patients in their office so they won’t have to leave home. Dr. Gupta says, “But the other good thing that will happen is it will allow more and more physicans across the state to be able to use this exemption to expand medication as a treatment for their own patients, up to 30 patients.”
Although the number of prescribed pills will be limited, the black market for opioids will continue to run through the streets of West Virginia, but with this new act in place, hopefully this will reduce the number of people on them.