KEYSER - Congressman David McKinley says before states like West Virginia can effectively fight the escalating drug abuse problem, they must first try to understand how that problem came about.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - Congressman David McKinley says before states like West Virginia can effectively fight the escalating drug abuse problem, they must first try to understand how that problem came about.
In an interview with the News Tribune Monday, McKinley said many people believe West Virginia’s descent into the drug abyss came from the high unemployment/low economic atmosphere that has plagued the state.
Noting that West Virginia has one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country, along with low rates of higher education and family income, McKinley said some would naturally assume a connection between the economy and drug abuse.
“But who do you think is No. 2 in drug use?” he asked. “Vermont. And Vermont has the second or third highest rate of employment and household income.
“So what is it that has caused this? We’ve got to try to figure it out.”
During his meeting with staff and board members from WVU Medicine Potomac Valley Hospital, at least two said they feel the problem has been society’s outlook on pain management.
“We’ve taught our children it’s not acceptable to be in any pain,” CEO and administrator Mark Boucot said.
“And if our patients told us we weren’t managing their pain well, what did we do? We gave them more,” he said.
Dr. Charles Bess agreed, noting that more and more doctors are now exercising more caution in prescribing pain medication.
Bess also commented that updated computer links between health agencies help physicians keep track of what medications other doctors may have prescribed for a patient, but not all agencies participate in the program.