Good news for West Virginia. Even though the state still ranks number one in prescription drug abuse, a non-profit health organization recognizes the state’s efforts in fighting the problem. The Trust for America’s Health works to identify epidemics and prevent diseases. They say West Virginia is doing a great job in combating the problem; except for a couple of things.
Good Samaritan Laws to protect people from prosecution when they are trying to prevent an overdose; calling the police or ambulance if they fear that a friend has taken too much or if they are overdosing. Overdoses accounted for nearly 30 deaths per 100,000 people in West Virginia in 2010. The Trust believes many deaths would be prevented if the fear of prosecution were lifted during rescue efforts.
Many other areas with prescription drug problems are starting programs where citizens have access to naloxone; a drug that can stop the effects of opioids and halt an overdose. West Virginia has not yet passed a law to implement such a program. Although this drug will not do anything to tackle the explosive growth of prescription drug abuse, it will help to prevent some of the resulting deaths.
West Virginia isn’t the only state with a problem; about half of the states see more deaths from pills than from automobile crashes. The national statistics seem to show that pill abuse is on the decline, but this may reveal a scary trend. With laws across the country cracking down on ‘doctor shopping’ and so-called ‘pain clinics’, the price of these drugs has skyrocketed leaving addicts searching for a cheaper high. In early 2014, police began turning up a startling amount of heroin in their efforts to tackle prescription drug abuse.