prescription drug abuse

oxycontin
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

A major California-based drug wholesaler has agreed to pay $150 million to settle allegations that it failed to detect and report pharmacies' suspicious orders of prescription pain pills, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

The settlement commits San Francisco-based McKesson Corp. to a multi-year suspension of sales of controlled substances from distribution centers in Colorado, Ohio, Michigan and Florida. It also imposes new and enhanced compliance requirements on McKesson's distribution system.

While millions of addictive pain pills flooded West Virginia, a generation of Appalachians grew up with a parent addicted or abusing drugs. Hear some of their stories on this week's classic episode of Inside Appalachia.

WVPA

Drug wholesalers sent 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills into West Virginia over six years, according to an investigation by the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Meanwhile, 1,728 West Virginians died from overdoses of these two powerful painkillers.

Who let it happen? Investigative reporter Eric Eyre, of the Charleston Gazette-Mail, answered our questions about his series on The Front Porch.

Jess Mador / WOUT/Truckbeat

Kristina “Breezy” Weaver  lives in Wyoming County, which has one of the highest drug overdose death rates in a state that leads the country in drug overdose deaths. Last June, Weaver’s father died of a heroin overdose.

Courtesy

For a generation of Appalachians, growing up with a parent addicted or abusing drugs is a way of life. On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we hear from men and women who have experienced the effects of opioid addiction and of the innocence that this epidemic has claimed.

mokee81 / Adobe Stock

Earlier this week the Charleston Gazette-Mail published an investigative report about “pill mills” in southern West Virginia. These are pharmacies that accept and distribute extraordinarily large numbers of prescription painkillers. Some of the doctors who have sent patients to these pharmacies have since been indicted on federal charges related to drug trafficking and abuse.

Kara Lofton sat down with Gazette-Mail reporter Eric Eyre to talk about the current lawsuit surrounding the pharmacies and how they have fueled West Virginia’s drug epidemic.

Ibrahim.ID / wikimedia Commons

Prescription drug distributors being sued by the state are seeking a closed hearing to explain why they want to keep information about pill shipments secret.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports a Boone County judge on May 6 granted the newspaper's request to unseal court records about prescription pain pill shipments to West Virginia.

Patrick Morrisey, W. Va. Attorney General
Janet Kunicki / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey plans to purchase incinerators for the disposal of unwanted and expired prescription medication in a state that leads the nation in the rate of overdose deaths.

Morrisey announced the move Tuesday as part of an initiative to reduce prescription drug use in West Virginia by at least 25 percent.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

State Senators have approved a bill that would protect doctors who refuse to prescribe painkillers when they think a patient might be addicted to the medication. 

David Grubb via Facebook

        

What impact will President Obama's new strategy have on the epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse and heroin use in West Virginia and Appalachia?

Saturday is National Drug Take-Back Day

Sep 24, 2014
Pills, Drugs, Prescriptions, prescription drugs
RayNata / wikimedia

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) ninth National Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, September 27, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Drug Take-Back Day is an opportunity for the public to prevent prescription drug abuse and theft by disposing of expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. Participants must simply deliver the prescription medications to one of the more than 130 certified drop-off locations around the state, where local law enforcement officials will then anonymously collect the medications with no questions asked.