W.Va. AG Unveils Push to Help Police; Strengthen Opioid Prescribing Practices

Updated 1 year ago Edited from a Press Release
CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey unveiled Tuesday proposed legislation to increase police efforts and strengthen prescribing guidelines in the fight against opioid abuse.

The five-point strategy recommends a significant surge in law enforcement and prosecutions, anti-retaliation protection for prescribers, tough prevention measures in Medicaid, mandatory checks of the state’s prescription drug monitoring database and adoption of a three-day limit for all initial opioid prescriptions.
"This package of ideas will significantly reduce opioid abuse in West Virginia,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “We must take every necessary step to reduce the amount of pills prescribed within our state. This epidemic has already claimed far too many lives and this proposal continues our commitment to do everything in our power to help West Virginia reach her full potential.”
The proposal’s enforcement surge focuses on adding 150 troopers and 50 investigators to the West Virginia State Police. It also creates a drug investigation unit within the Attorney General’s Office. Combined, these moves could reopen closed police detachments, enhance 24-hour police coverage and authorize the Attorney General’s Office to assist county prosecutors in the fight against the opioid abuse.
The three-day prescribing limit applies to treating all forms of acute pain upon initial visit. It recognizes three days as the safest length for an opioid prescription as studies show increased usage a year later among patients who receive larger quantities at the onset.
The anti-retaliation provision seeks to eliminate negative consequences inflicted upon prescribers who refuse to prescribe opioid pain medications. Enforcing such a provision would foster an attitude of care over cash among doctors.
The Medicaid abuse prevention component addresses the large volume of opioids paid for through the program. It would instruct and authorize the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources to implement reforms that would apply a stricter standard to prescribing opioids covered by Medicaid.
The mandatory check provision requires prescribers to review the state’s controlled substance monitoring database each time they write an opioid prescription as opposed to once annually. This pivotal change ensures prescribers are fully aware of their patient’s prescriptions so as to assist in making sound decisions and detecting any signs of abuse.
Proposing legislation represents one manner through which the Attorney General has sought to combat West Virginia’s drug overdose death rate.
Other efforts include criminal prosecutions, civil litigation, major change of drug policies, multistate partnerships, new technology, awareness initiatives, drug incinerators and drop boxes to dispose of unwanted/expired prescriptions and the best practices toolkit endorsed by more than 25 national and state stakeholders.
Read a copy of the proposed legislation at http://bit.ly/2FOYQRq.
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