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Controlled substance prescriptions near 5-year low

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Despite an increase in prescriptions, the number of tightly controlled drugs being dispensed in West Virginia is on pace to drop to its lowest amount in five years, according to a report presented to state lawmakers Monday.

“The number of prescriptions aren’t dropping off like the number of pills are,” said Mike Goff, who administers West Virginia’s Controlled Substances Monitoring Database. “They’re writing more prescriptions, but it’s for shorter duration. So it’s less pills in the medicine cabinet and into the hands of patients who could potentially do something wrong with it.”

In 2011, West Virginia pharmacies dispensed 295 million doses of drugs classified as controlled substances — medications like opioid painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs and amphetamines. By the end of this year, that number is expected to decline to 268 million pills, a 9 percent drop over five years.

“It’s declining rapidly…

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