Senator Jay Rockefeller is encouraging West Virginians across the state to properly dispose of unwanted or expired prescription drugs during the fifth
National Drug Take Back Day.
On Saturday, September 29th, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and its partners will set up locations throughout the state to provide West Virginians the opportunity to rid their medicine cabinets of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.
"Prescription drug abuse is plaguing West Virginia and the nation. It is tearing apart our families and communities, and we are losing far too many people from prescription drug overdoses," said Rockefeller. "Studies show a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, often without their knowledge. For that reason, I urge all West Virginians to take a few minutes to clean out their medicine cabinets and safely dispose of any expired or left over medicine at one of the many convenient locations across the state. This Drug Take Back Day is just one part of the solution."
In the last decade, West Virginia has experienced a tragic increase in deaths
and overdoses from prescription drugs. Nine out of 10 of the drug-related
deaths in West Virginia are because of the misuse and abuse of prescription
drugs, especially opioid painkillers. Rockefeller has been working in
Congress for several years to raise awareness for the need to fight
prescription drug abuse and has acted on the following fronts:
Designated October as National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. Rockefeller has consistently been an original cosponsor of a Senate resolution designating October as "National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month" to draw attention to and educate the public about problems associated with drug abuse and misuse of prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Rockefeller will roll out several additional initiatives to combat prescription drug addiction next month.
Added four Northern Panhandle counties (Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, and Marshall) to the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program in August 2012. Rockefeller pushed for the Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske to designate these counties as HIDTA counties, which qualifies them for additional federal funding to fight prescription drug abuse and trafficking. He also won an additional $39 million above the budgeted level for HIDTA.
Invited the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to hold a Continuing Medical Education course for West Virginia health care professionals. This course, Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain: Balancing Safety and Efficacy, will be held at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine on Friday, September 28, 2012, is open to all prescribers, and offers 6.25 hours of continuing education credits.
Secured a provision in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bill in July 2012 to improve patient and provider education on drug abuse. The provision, which was included as part of legislation to fund the FDA, requires a study on the best ways to develop and disseminate provider, pharmacist, and patient education tools on prescription drug abuse.
Held a Senate hearing on March 22 on "Prescription Drug Abuse: How are Medicare and Medicaid Adapting to the Challenge?" Rockefeller discussed the role of Medicare and Medicaid in preventing and treating the overprescribing, misuse of, and addiction to prescription drugs.
Co-led a letter to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education with five other Senators, asking the Subcommittee to reinstate funding for the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting (NASPER) program in Fiscal Year 2013.
Introduced a bill to prevent the unsafe use of prescription drugs and reduce deaths. The Rockefeller bill would promote both physician and patient education, and create a uniform reporting system for painkiller-related deaths. The bill would also significantly increase federal funding to help states create and maintain prescription drug monitoring programs that will stop "doctor shopping" and drug trafficking across state lines.
Secured additional federal funds to help prevent prescription drug abuse. In addition to his support for the HIDTA program, Rockefeller has consistently supported funding for important law enforcement programs, such as Drug Courts, Byrne JAG grants, the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, and others. The Recovery Act alone provided $4 billion nationwide and $25 million for West Virginia to hire police officers, fight crime and drug abuse, and provide services for at-risk youth.
Held a roundtable in 2011 with the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, state and local leaders, health providers, and law enforcement officials in Huntington. Rockefeller discussed how prescription drug abuse affects families and children in West Virginia.