In WV, FDA chief hears of opioid epidemic

Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by Christian Tyler Randolph FDA Commissioner Robert Califf speaks during a roundtable discussion on opioid abuse at the Department of Health and Human Resources in Charleston, W.Va. on Tuesday Aug. 09, 2016.
Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by Christian Tyler Randolph  FDA Commissioner Robert Califf speaks during a roundtable discussion on opioid abuse at the Department of Health and Human Resources in Charleston, W.Va. on Tuesday Aug. 09, 2016.
Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by Christian Tyler Randolph
FDA Commissioner Robert Califf speaks during a roundtable discussion on opioid abuse at the Department of Health and Human Resources in Charleston, W.Va. on Tuesday Aug. 09, 2016.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The leader of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, whose agency is responsible for what drugs hit the market, heard state leaders’ frustrations Tuesday with the amount of addictive painkillers that have been shipped to West Virginia, fueling a wave of abuse and overdoses in the Mountain State.

Dr. Robert Califf, who took over the FDA in February, was in Charleston on Tuesday for a discussion on opioids, drug abuse and recovery, during which time he also heard about some of the steps West Virginia has taken to fight the opioid epidemic.

West Virginia, which leads the nation in overdose deaths, had 730 people die of overdoses in 2015, Dr. Rahul Gupta, state public health commissioner said.

That’s one person every 12 hours.

“We’re a country of 3 to 4 percent of the world’s population, we consume 80 to 90 percent of the world’s opioids,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. “Something’s wrong…

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