West Virginia Drug Plan Calls for Limiting Prescriptions

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia health officials have proposed limiting initial opioid prescriptions, increasing oversight to stop inappropriate prescribing and requiring all emergency responders carry overdose antidotes in a state response to the drug state crisis that killed 884 people in 2016.

The plan comes from a panel of public health experts from West Virginia and Johns Hopkins University with public and state agency input.

A dozen state senators already have introduced legislation to generally limit initial doctor and dentist prescriptions of opiates for acute, or short-term, pain to seven days. The bill would limit those painkiller prescriptions to three days for minors and for emergency-room outpatients.

More than 30,000 West Virginians are already in drug treatment. The state has the nation’s highest drug overdose death rate.