Morrisey announces comprehensive approach to opioid epidemic

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey unveiled several initiatives at the state Capitol Tuesday in an effort to fight West Virginia’s opioid epidemic.

Part of the plan includes a draft of best practice guidelines aiming to reduce the prescription of opioids where it’s not necessary.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says eradicating substance abuse demands a holistic and multi-faceted approach."
Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says “eradicating substance abuse demands a holistic and multi-faceted approach.”

“We seek to dramatically reduce the use of opioids as a first-line therapy in the treatment of pain,” Morrisey said. “We’re trying to increase the use of non-opioid alternatives so patients can obtain the therapies they need without the risk of becoming addicted.”

MORE Read Morrisey’s best practices plan here

Morrisey also discussed a new disposal plan for prescription products and a public service announcement campaign.

“We’re looking at this issue from a holistic perspective,” he said. “We’re going after it from a supply and demand and an educational perspective. We’ve been very aggressive in our educational efforts, and we’ve been aggressive on the enforcement side as well.”

Morrisey will work with another group to purchase four incinerators to dispose of unused prescription drugs. He said the disposal issue is a problem he hears of often.

The prescription drug issue has spiraled out of control in West Virginia to the point that drastic action is needed, Morrisey said.

“People are dying, and the overdose rate is absolutely unacceptable. It’s over twice the national average,” he said. “We have to do something fundamental, and these initiatives today are designed to accomplish that goal.”

Morrisey said he’s confident the initiatives and other efforts can reduce opioid use in West Virginia by 25 percent.

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