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This ongoing series takes in-depth look at the heroin epidemic spreading across West Virginia. From the story of the addict who could no longer get prescription narcotics on the street, the emergency room physician who cares for overdose patients, and the lawmakers working to reverse the trend--these are the voices and stories of West Virginians impacted by heroin.Has heroin affected you or someone you know? Share your story here.

Law Regulating Addiction Treatment Programs Takes Effect

Suboxone.jpg
AP file photo
Shavonne Bullock, a recovering heroin addict, holds a demonstration dose of the medication Suboxone.

Programs that use medication to treat substance abuse are now more tightly regulated under West Virginia law.

The law endorsed by Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and the GOP-led Legislature took effect Friday, June 10.

It provides requirements for licensure, registration, regulation and inspections of clinics treating people for substance abuse with medication, including Suboxone clinics.

Suboxone is a brand of buprenorphine, which lowers the effect of opioids. It can also be abused.

The law requires patient agreements and treatment plans describing the medication and expectations. It also warns patients about the ramifications of selling or abusing the medication.

The law ensures patients receive counseling and behavioral health therapies.

A database will monitor how effectively medication-assisted programs are treating substance abuse.

A rule determining many of the law's specifics is being drafted.


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