CHARLESTON — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's fight against substance abuse has helped West Virginia realize a 51-percent drop in opioid prescriptions since 2013, according to analysis of a recent study.
CHARLESTON — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s fight against substance abuse has helped West Virginia realize a 51-percent drop in opioid prescriptions since 2013, according to analysis of a recent study.
The Attorney General’s holistic approach has sought to attack the root causes of the opioid epidemic from a supply, a demand and an educational perspective. That includes being as aggressive as any office in bringing accountability to the pharmaceutical supply channel through enforcement, suing and reaching an agreement with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to change the nation’s drug quota system, establishing best practices for prescribing and dispensing opioids, educating citizens and more.
“We must do everything to reduce the oversupply of opioid painkillers, and news of a 51-percent decline proves that our efforts are paying real dividends,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “The Attorney General’s Office had no concerted, substance abuse fighting unit when our team arrived, and through years of hard work we have transformed the office and with a commitment to stop senseless death.”
The IQVIA-study, released in May and analyzed this week by Axios, ranked West Virginia’s 51-percent decline in opioid prescriptions as second behind only the District of Columbia. Every other state experienced a decline of less than 50 percent.
The five-year, 51-percent drop, at least in part, is a credit to the Attorney General’s multifaceted attack on opioid abuse.
For instance, the office’s $84 million in distributor settlements set the standard nationally, while its unilateral lawsuit against the DEA fundamentally changed national drug policy. It yielded sweeping reforms to the nation’s drug quota system that will dramatically reduce the number of opioid pills manufactured each year.
Furthermore, the Attorney General developed a best practices toolkit for prescribing and dispensing opioids, which has been endorsed by more than 25 national and state stakeholders.
Those efforts complement a broad array of education and awareness initiatives, the most recent is the Attorney General’s Kids Kick Opioids contest, an elementary and middle school competition designed to spur creativity and raise awareness of prescription painkiller abuse.
The Attorney General also has partnered with colleges to share drug abuse prevention information with eighth grade students, in addition to the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission to raise awareness as to the danger of unnecessary prescription painkiller use to treat injuries, including those suffered by high school athletes.
Other initiatives include criminal prosecutions, civil litigation, multistate partnerships and engagement with the faith-based community.